President denies promising India to go beyond 13-A

All political party leaders to be consulted on national question



By Ravi Ladduwahetty


President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday denied that he ever told India he would go beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution as a solution to the ethnic problem.


Responding to a question at a breakfast meeting with heads of print and electronic media yesterday at Temple Trees whether he had promised India to go beyond the 13th Amendment, the President said: "Oh, No! How can I make promises like that? I have referred the issue to Parliament. I have nominated government representatives to the PSC. But unfortunately, neither the UNP nor the JVP has nominated theirs. It is the same with the Tamil National Alliance as well."


When asked for his personal opinion on the matter, President Rajapaksa said that if he spelt out his views, then there would be criticism in the media that he had brought in his opinion and that he was trying to push it through Parliament. He said, "We can use our parliamentary majority to do that, but I won’t. The Parliamentary Select Committee is an open forum. I will be implementing what is agreed upon there."


The President said the land powers were vested with the Provincial Councils and the contentious issue was the police powers. "The TNA is now talking the way the LTTE used to. What it is asking for is not of concern to the people of Kilinochchi. These are the matters that we should take cognisance of. The stand of the TNA is not clear."


President Rajapaksa said that he would meet all political party leaders to discuss the national issue. "The Opposition, the media, social activists and all stakeholders should unite to find a lasting solutions to these long standing issues, but no one seems to be making use of the open form that is available."


Asked whether he thought it advisable to call an all party conference to deliberate on these matters, President Rajapaksa said he would summon all political parties and devise a mechanism to ascertain their views on the issue. "We want the support of not only the political parties but also the media. This is a national issue and we need the support of all stakeholders.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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