By Sandun A Jayasekera
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said it was ready for direct talks with the government to find a sustainable solution to the North-East problem under foreign observation.
Asked whether the TNA did not have any intention of participating in the deliberations of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) heeding to repeated requests by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and PSC chairman, Leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripla De Silva, Jaffna District Parliamentarian and TNA spokesman Suresh Premachandra told the Daily Mirror that the TNA did not expect to participate in the PSC discussions as it was a futile act.
“The government is used to making this kind of invitations to the TNA for public consumption and not in a genuine desire to have a fruitful discussion. I do not think there will be any positive outcome by participating in the government dominated PSC. Besides, we have so many other forums down the line which we can use as a guiding formula to initiate a dialogue between the two parties,” Mr. Premachandra stressed. Mr. Premachandra said the Mangala Munasingha committee appointed by late President R. Premadasa, the National Advisory Council for Peace and Reconciliation (NACPR) appointed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself contained far reaching and extremely positive recommendations to initiate a dialogue in a bid to find a durable solution to the ethnic problem.
"The government is used to making this kind of invitations to the TNA for public consumption and not in a genuine desire to have a fruitful discussion. I do not think there will be any positive outcome by participating in the government dominated PSC"
“What we had to do was to come to the negotiating table with those recommendations in hand and work out a formula that would lead to genuine peace and reconciliation. But unfortunately, the government has continuously missed those opportunities and now invites us to take part in the one sided PSC,” Mr. Premachandra added. He said the TNA was ready to discuss a home based formula but would like to talk with the government under the observation of a foreign panel of experts to give the discussions a genuine and transparent look. The TNA has always shown its bona-fide in initiating bilateral talks with the government and expect the government to reciprocate in the same positive way, he said.
Mr. Premachandra said President Rajapaksa has pledged Indian Premier Narendra Modi to implement the 13th Amendment and devolve power at the earliest when he met him at the oath taking ceremony of the Indian premier in May and the TNA was awaiting the government to put that promise into action. The TNA has informed the government to come up with its agenda for discussion and to initiate a dialogue based on that agenda but government keeps insisting on the TNA instead to forward its formula for discussion which the TNA has presented in 2011.
Meanwhile, Cabinet spokesman , Information and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella responding to a journalist on the ITAK leader Parliamentarian Mavei Senadhiraja’s threat that the TNA would launch a non violent Gandhi style struggle to win the rights of Tamils from January 1st, 2015 if the government failed to meet their demands said the government was ready to face the issue if Senadhiraja specifically said what their demands were.
“He has not said what they exactly want and what kind of struggle they are going to launch. The government would respond appropriately when we are well aware of their necessities and what kind of struggle they are going to launch,” Minister Rambukwella said.