COLOMBO: The eagerly awaited talks between Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to sort out problems between them ended in a stalemate here on Wednesday.
"Today's meeting was only a preliminary one.They will have to meet several times to sort things out.There are many knotty issues to be tackled," a source close to Sirisena told Express.
The source insisted that the two leaders discussed only matters relating to their party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).While Sirisena is Chairman of the party by virtue of being the President of Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa in a Patron of the party by virtue of having been a past President of Lanka.
But the two are at daggers drawn because they contested the last Lankan Presidential election in January as rival candidates.The SLFP, which is now divided into two factions, wants to fight the coming parliamentary elections as one party in order to beat the rival United National Party (UNP).But Sirisena and Rajapaksa are not able to see eye to eye on any issue.
On Tuesday, Sirisena's office issued a statement which said that he would, under no circumstances, betray the over 6 million Lankans who voted for him in his talks with Rajapaksa.
On the same day, Rajapaksa also issued a statement saying that the Sirisena government is arresting his supporters out of sheer political vendetta.An army corporal, who was in his son Namal's security group, was arrested on suspicion of planning to shoot Sirisena at a political meeting.These actions did not augur well for his talks with Sirisena, Rajapaksa said.
Meanwhile, Dilan Perera, a Rajapaksa loyalist, said that the Rajapaksa-Sirisena talks are primarily meant to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his United National Party (UNP) from the government. This put Sirisena in a spot because he won the Presidential election on the basis of the organizational strength of the UNP.
Opposing Dilan Perera, Democratic Peoples' Front (DPF) leader,Mano Ganeshan, said that the minority Tamils and Muslims will not allow Rajapaksa to come back to power as they had suffered immensely during his rule from 2005 to 2014.