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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:01, March 27, 2006
Truce helps develop Sri Lanka's rural areas: opposition leader
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The internationally backed truce agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels had led to development in rural Sri Lanka, the main opposition leader said Sunday.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of the United National Party ( UNP), told party election rallies in the central district of Kandy that the cease-fire with the LTTE in 2002 had brought foreign assistance to the island to develop rural areas.

Wickremesinghe, as the then Prime Minister, entered the truce talks with the LTTE rebels with the backing of the Norwegian peace facilitators.

"The money started to flow in 2003 and 2004 because of the cease-fire agreement," Wickremesinghe told a rally ahead of next week's local council elections, stressing that local councils controlled by his party was able to use the funds for development work in the rural areas.

But his government came to be short lived as his rival, the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga, dismissed his government. He was accused of conceding too much to the rebels in the guise of the peace process and compromising national security.

His party was defeated in the parliamentary election held in April 2004 by the present ruling alliance the United People's Freedom Alliance.

Wickremesinghe challenged the present government, citing that foreign assistance had dried later due to the inconsistent peace policy of the government.

Local elections will be held on March 30 to elect representatives to 266 out of the 330 councils. The elections for councils in the Tamil regions will take place six months later.

Source: Xinhua

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