B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: In a hard-hitting speech, Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday told Parliament that after the recent induction of defectors from his party into the Government the United National Party (UNP) finds it "impossible" to work with the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government.

In a suo motu statement explaining the circumstances under which his party declared the Memorandum of Understanding with the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) as null and void, Mr. Wickremesinghe complained that the Government had disregarded the wishes of the people to achieve its narrow political objectives.

The UNP walked out of the October MoU inked with the SLFP after Mr. Rajapaksa inducted several defectors from the party into the Government.

"We will witness in the coming weeks an increase in the violation of human rights, deterioration of good governance, spread of corruption, undermining of democracy, and the rising cost of living," Mr. Wickremesinghe warned.

He, however, said his party has not wavered in its commitment to peaceful resolution of the ethnic conflict. He said the spirit behind the MoU was the realisation that it was time to replace the politics of confrontation, which has been the bane of the nation, with inclusiveness. "But all of this was not to be and a golden opportunity to change the course of history and indeed our country's destiny has been lost."