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* Sri Lanka main opposition decides not to participate in President's foreign tours
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 10:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 21, Colombo: Parliamentarians of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) have decided today not to participate in the official tours of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in future.

The decision was taken by the UNP parliamentary group that met today at the parliament. Sri Lanka parliament met today for the first time in the new year.

The parliamentary group discussed the controversy created by Opposition Chief Whip John Amaratunga's tour in Middle East with the President's entourage.

Several UNP MPs severely criticized Amartunga taking the tour as well as some MPs participating in the cricket match with the government MPs and Ministers. Some UNP MPs even protested the party MPs taking part in the traditional tea party after the budget.

However, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe pointed out that the tradition was started by the UNP government. He also said that he had given consent to MP Amaratunga's controversial tour on religious grounds.

The Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) criticized the UNP for undertaking pilgrimages on public expenses.

UNP MPs decided not to participate in President's tours except for attending funerals of the state leaders and special religious ceremonies.

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