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Ranil govt rejects unity plan

Colombo, Nov. 17 (Reuters): Sri Lanka’s government rejected a call for a national unity coalition today, but said it hoped to hold talks with the President this week to resolve a political crisis and allow peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels to resume.

The bid to end 20 years of war has been in turmoil since President Chandrika Kumaratunga sacked the defence, interior and media ministers and suspended parliament early this month.

“The Prime Minister says he is available to meet tomorrow or on Thursday. As of this moment he has not received a response, but he stands ready,” cabinet spokesman G.L. Peiris said.

Kumaratunga has called for a “national unity government”, but Peiris rejected the idea. “We do not think any problem is solved by simply creating a few more ministries and distributing them across the board,” he said.

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