The United States Ambassador for Sri Lanka and Maldives Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz met with the Tamil National Alliance Leader R Sampanthan in Colombo yesterday.
Reiterating the position Tamil people had taken at the recently concluded elections, Sampanthan highlighted that despite other parties calling for a boycott and to vote for a Tamil candidate, the Tamil National Alliance was the only party which openly requested the Tamil people to vote for Sajith Premadasa, and the endorsement to that calling was very clearly demonstrated at the elections.
Further speaking, Sampanthan stressed upon the urgency of finding a political solution to the national question. “We want a political solution, constitutionally provided, which enables people to live with self-respect, dignity, and also enable them to determine and find answers to the problems faced in their locality,” said Sampanthan.
He also pointed out that current Prime Minister and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has time and again promised the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, and also building upon the 13th Amendment to find a meaningful power-sharing arrangement. “We are prepared to talk on these matters with the new Government,” said Sampanthan.
“We are prepared to work with the economic development initiatives of the Government, which are beneficial to the people. But we will not surrender the interest and the rights of our people at any point,” stressed Sampanthan. He further pointed out “Unless there is a feeling of true peace among the communities and stability in the country, attracting foreign investments will be a difficult task.” Responding to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Sampanthan said, “We will not support any amendments that will diminish the democratic values bestowed in the Constitution, and we will certainly not support to remove the independent commissions that are now guaranteed in the Constitution.”
Commenting on the UNHRC Co-sponsored resolution, Sampanthan highlighted, “The issues were internationalised due to the failure of the Government to keep to their domestic undertakings and promises. The Government has promised the International community on various matters; backtracking from those commitments is indicative of the fact that the Government will not keep to its domestic and international commitments. Besides, backtracking on these commitments will also prove that the Government is arbitrarily violating International covenants.”
While assuring the continuous constructive engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka, the Ambassador also affirmed the US Government’s commitments towards achieving lasting peace, justice, and equality among the communities in Sri Lanka.