TNA will return for bilateral talks if invited

Says cannot decipher contradictory positions of the state on 13A, Divineguma Bill


By Ravi Ladduwahetty

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it is willing to have negotiations with the government, if invited, as a forerunner to a Parliamentary Select Committee on the ethnic question.

"We are prepared to recommence bilateral talks with the government on the ethnic issue as a forerunner to the PSC but it is the government that is not responding," TNA spokesman, Vice President and Jaffna District MP Suresh Premachandran told The Island yesterday.

He said that he and his party could not understand the government’s contradictory statements on devolution. On the one hand it said it was for the continuation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and on the other it was trying to implement the Divi Neguma Bill aimed at usurping the powers of the provincial councils, MP Premachandra said.

He said that he was all for a Parliamentary Select Committee to solve the ethnic question but stressed the need for the continuation of bilateral talks with the government to sort out contentious issues such as the implementation of the 13th Amendment and certain matters related to the Divineguma Bill.

The TNA would also like the PSC on the ethnic question to be purposeful and not be a one sided affair like the PSC which recently tried Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Premachandra said. "As in the case of the impeachment motion of the Chief Justice, we all know what happened and we hope that this one on the ethnic question will not go the same way."

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