Sri Lanka Tamil National Alliance denies having talks with Buddhist prelates
Sri Lanka’s largest Tamil political party- the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) denied that the party would have discussions with the Mahanyake theras (Buddhist Prelates) with regards to finding a political settlement to the ethnic strike that lead to a three decades of long-drawn civil war.
Several media reports claimed that the TNA would commence discussions with the most venerable Mahanyake theras of the three denominations- Siyam, Amarapura & Ramanna.
“Although we don’t see anything wrong in having talks with Buddhist leadership of the country. However we have not taken any decision to discuss a political settlement with the Mahanyake theras,” TNA spokesman and Jaffna District MP, Suresh Premachandran said.
Meanwhile government and TNA stalwarts would meet on March 4, to continue talks in finding a permanent political settlement for Tamil people, during highest-level talks on the subject ever to be held with the Sri Lankan government after Elam War IV began in 2006.
Earlier speaking to Asian Tribune, a TNA source said that up to now they were ‘bogged down’ with day-today issues, but could not delay any longer its efforts to find a lasting political solution for Tamils with the government. The party is insisting that a permanent solution must be deliberated concurrently with day-to-day issues i.e. resettlement and reconstruction of IDPs etc.
The Asian Tribune reported earlier that the main contention for TNA during on-going talks would be the full implementation of the controversial Thirteenth Amendment.
TNA believes that the initial step of granting Police powers for the provincial councils is crucial for talks on a lasting permanent solution for the country’s long-drawn ethnic conflict.
However President Mahinda Rajapaksa had intimated to TNA that his government was willing to go for a ‘Thirteenth Plus solution’ for the Tamil People, sans the much-debated Police powers.
Many believe that in the event of devolving Police powers, creation of another Prabhakaran could not be ruled out.
President Rajapaksa appointed a high-level delegation including former Prime Minister Rathanasiri Wickremanayake, and Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, and Prof. G L Peiris to conduct talks with TNA. MP Sajin Waas Gunawardene had been appointed as the coordinating secretary.
TNA negotiating committee includes TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, General Secretary MPs Mavai Senathiraja, M A Sumathiran MP, Selvam Adaikkalanathan MP, Suresh Premachandran MP and President’s Counsel Kanagaeeswaran.