Britain to help Sri Lanka find lasting peace - Minister

Tamil National Alliance R, Sampanthan and the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field, met at the Westminster House in Colombo.

A meeting between the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance R, Sampanthan and the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field, took place today at the Westminster House in Colombo.

Voicing his concern, Sampanthan pointed out that the conduct of this government was undoubtedly different to the conduct of the former government, but that alone is not enough. Citing consecutive UN Human Rights Council Resolutions, Sampanthan pointed out that that the government requested two-year time to implement the resolution, but the process of implementation has been very slow. Furthermore, he expressed his concerns over the undue delay in matters which could have been done without many efforts. The delays in releasing of land owned and cultivated by civilians for centuries which are now occupied by the Armed Forces even after 9 years since the end of war, the issue of concerning the political prisoners who are being held under a draconian PTA law, a law that the Government gave several undertakings to repeal, but which is still in existence, the Office of the Missing Persons came to be in place after a long delay they are endeavouring to be effective, these are matters which could have been addressed without delay, said Sampanthan. Further, Sampanthan pointed out that the Truth Commission had not been appointed yet, no one can conceal things and the truth must be ascertained that’s our position. The Truth Commission must be in place to ascertain the truth and to bring about justice.

Briefing the Minister on the new Constitutional making process, Sampanthan highlighted the fact that the demands of the Tamil people for a genuine power-sharing arrangement must be addressed through a new Constitution and there had been much work done around this matter for the past 20 years. Every successive President and Government have made efforts towards a new Constitution and this must be done without further delay, said Sampanthan. We are wishing for a solution within a united, undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka and our people have accepted this stand and have repeatedly voted for this mandate at every election, said Sampanthan. We wish to live in this country as equal citizens, with self-respect and dignity and the people must have powers to decide over their day to day matters, which is a democratic verdict of the people and it must be respected and upheld, Sampanthan said. Furthermore, we do not wish our young people to return to violence, our youth have been deprived of many things due to the armed conflict and we don’t want that to be continued, Sampanthan said.

TNA Spokesman and Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran expressed his concerns over the lack of political will from the leaders in taking this process forward and explaining it to the people. We have managed to reach a consensus on many matters, Sumanthiran, said. Yet, there seems to be reluctance from the leaders of other political parties taking this forward, he added.

Sampanthan also cautioned that if this opportunity is missed that the country would certainly go backwards, regardless of who is in power. Therefore, all parties must come together to address this longstanding issue to find a permanent solution and any failure on the making of a new Constitution, would lead this country once again towards violence, Sampanthan said.

Speaking on the UNHRC resolution, Sampanthan pointed out that it was a cosponsored resolution and the Government must be held accountable for its commitments. The resolution must be implemented and the Government cannot evade from doing justice to its own people. The resolution must remain unaltered and implemented fully and our position is that the government has an obligation to abide by its own commitments, Sam

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