TNA ready to talk with Government on solution if engaged meaningfully

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says the party is prepared to talk with the Government, if it will engage in a meaningful manner. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said the party was prepared for discussions with the Government, but the latter should reciprocate with ‘a credible response’. He made this comment in response to the invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week for the TNA to resume the long-stalled talks on finding a political solution to the national question. Delivering the reply speech at the final Budget debate in Parliament last week, the President made a request to the Tamil leaders of the Opposition to come together with the Government to find a national solution and achieve reconciliation. The President requested the TNA leader and Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran to join hands with the Government to create national harmony. The TNA, the one-time proxy party of the Tamil Tiger terrorist group LTTE, has refused to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee, the mechanism the Sri Lankan Government established to achieve a sustainable political solution to devolve power. Sampanthan, however, noted that the TNA had never said the party was not prepared for talks with the Government and wanted the Government to engage with the party sincerely for negotiations. According to Sampanthan, it was the Government that did not respond positively to the meetings set on 17, 18 and 19 January 2012 to discuss the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to discuss the national question. He added that it is the Government that is solely responsible for stalling the talks with the TNA. However, the Northern Province Chief Minister accused the Government of backing an attempt to create another LTTE that would be a threat to the Tamil politicians as the LTTE did during its reign. Addressing a public event, Vigneswaran has said that a movement is in the making under a former LTTE military commander now aligned with the Government. “The latest we hear is that a former LTTE military commander is being commissioned to restart an LTTE outfit subservient to the powers that be. Thus the white van drama could now be enacted by a different cast,” Colombo Gazette quoted Vigneswaran as saying.The Chief Minister has also claimed that the Sri Lankan Army has been stationed in the north following the end of the war, with ulterior motives.