No show by several parties at Ranil’s reconciliation meet

By Rathindra Kuruwita

A number of opposition political parties did not attend the all-party conference convened by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday to promote ethnic reconciliation.Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Uttara Lanka Sabagaya (ULS), and the National People’s Power (NPP), did not attend the meeting.

Several parties which attended the meeting, objected to the President’s proposal to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution fully. SLPP MP Sarath Weerasekera said he was opposed to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.

“None of the previous presidents did so. If President Ranil Wickremesinghe allows this to happen, the country will be divided.

ULS MP, Ven. Aturaliye Rathana Thera said that the President was trying to create unrest between ethnicities.

“He has no interest in resolving the problems faced by the Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese or anyone else. We told him we are not opposed to handing over land to the Northern people. There are many people who deserve land there. But this is different from giving land powers to Provincial

Councils. Moreover, one can’t give lands, that belong to the Forest Conservation Department, or the Wildlife Conservation Department, to the people,” Rathana Thera said.ULS MP Gevindu Cumaratunga said he told the President that he had no mandate to take any serious decisions on the country.

“He wasn’t elected by the people. He was made President by 134 men and women. If he wants to implement the 13th Amendment, he has to go before the people. I told him this. He told me that he is the executive and Parliament is the legislature. He said if the 13th Amendment is in the law, he will implement it. The President said if you don’t want it, you can abolish it,” Cumaratunga said. Meanwhile, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M.A. Sumanthiran said that the President could implement the 13th Amendment within a day if he so desired.

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