Govt. refuses to respond to ‘hasty’ TNA demands

Saturday, 6 August 2011 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The government responding to demands by TNA said, it was certainly not possible, nor was it consistent with the national interest at this stage, to make a final pronouncement on crucial issues, hastily and without wider consultation.

The TNA yesterday said that it would not agree to set a date for the next round of talks with the government and that their willingness to continue participation in the discussions with the government would be conditional.


According to the Secretary of the Committee, TNA had put forward three conditions and insisted that, within a period of 10 days, the government delegation should inform the TNA in writing of its position on the following matters: (1). The structure of governance, (2). The subjects and functions allocated to the central government and the provincial councils and (3). Issues pertaining to fiscal devolution.

We do not think that the ultimatum delivered to the government by the TNA, which is tantamount to the attitude portrayed by the LTTE, is at all helpful or constructive for the purpose of carrying forward in a structured and methodical way. A process which can reach a positive outcome can be arrived at only if it has the widest possible support among the public, Secretary of Long Term Reconciliation Committee MP Sajin Vas Gunewardane said.

“It is this objective which the government has tried to achieve in its sustained discussions with varying shades of political opinion during the last few months,” he added.

“TNA placed before the government, delegation discussion papers setting out proposals in regard to the structure of governance, the division of subjects and functions between the Centre and the devolved units, fiscal and financial powers and other matters relevant to the achievement of an acceptable and durable political solution. The TNA invited the government’s response to these proposals and despite the government’s commitment to so respond, no response has been forthcoming for several months,” TNA leader M.A. Sumathiran said in a release.

“Consequently, no meaningful or purposeful discussion could be had on the discussion papers tendered by the TNA. This, we regret to state, was clearly demonstrative of the lack of a genuine commitment on the part of the government to the evolution of an acceptable political solution. While attempting to show the world that the government was engaged in a political process as an integral part of reconciliation, what the government was really engaged in was no more than a mere facade. It is in these circumstances that the TNA questioned the continuance of such a deceitful process,” he said.

In response, Vas Gunewardane said that the government had made every effort to discuss these complex issues.

“As much as the SLFP does not solely represent any community in particular, the TNA also does not solely represent the Tamil community. In the circumstances that have arisen on account of the demarche of the TNA, the government will proceed with the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee. This is the appropriate forum for a discussion in which all the representatives of the people can participate with a view to identifying the constitutional reforms that are needed as the country emerges from the anguish of terrorism and faces with courage the challenges of accelerated economic and social development.

The Government hopes that all political parties, including the TNA will avail themselves of this opportunity,” he said. (