TNA not prepared to bail out Sri Lanka Government in the international forum
The Tamil National Alliance has no obligation to bail out Sri Lanka Government in the international forum, when the Government has failed so far to actively engage them.
The Government is bringing this precarious situation upon itself and TNA has asked why they should be the advocate of the Government?
Mr. R.Sampanthan speaking to Asian Tribune said, “Please understand that the Government is bringing this situation upon themselves.”
When elaborating, Tamil National Alliance Leader said, “I told the President when I met him in October 2010 to seriously engage with the TNA , discuss a political solution seriously, involve us in the rehabilitation, resettlement process and if you do that, the international process will diminish, but on the contrary the international pressure will give you more financial support to proceed with rehabilitation and resettlement programme, the diaspora will get involved with that programme, the moment we come in, the programme can be taken forward and subsequently all the international pressure will be diminished.”
He further said,” He (President) will be moving towards a different situation. I told him in October November 2010. I sent him a letter confirming my discussion with him. I told him to appoint two committees one to deal with political solution and one to deal with rehabilitation, resettlement and all that type of things, but he did not do that. He did nothing and now he is paying for his sin. Therefore why should I talk about it?”
Mr. Sampanthan denied that TNA has provided any mandate to Tamil Nadu politicos to speak on behalf of them or do anything on their behalf when responding to a question posed by Asian Tribune about Tamil Nadu politicians taking up the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issues and whether TNA has given them a mandate to do that?
The TNA leader said that TNA will not be in the joint opposition group against the Government.
He said, “We are open minded and we reserve to our flexibility with regards to our decision and we will make our decision in the best interest of our people and we go alone, but when others are being in agreement that our issues to be resolved, so we are supportive of them.”.
When asked that doesn’t mean that you are a part and parcel of the opposition grouping? Mr. Sampanthan failed to give a direct response. He said, “I want say either yes or no”.
When commenting about the lands and houses taken over by the Security Forces in the Valikamam North and East regions and in other areas in the Jaffna Peninsula Mr. Sampanthan reminded that the Government has already committed in the Supreme Court that it will release all those lands and houses back to the owners. He said we expect the Government to live up to its commitment.
Given below excerpts of the interview Asian Tribune had with Mr. R.Sampanthan MP and the leader of the Tamil National Alliance:
TNA delegation’s recent visit to South Africa
Asian Tribune: How was your South African trip?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: It was good. We met with whole lot of people from both side – that of South African Government, as well as leaders from the African National Congress (ANC) and they shared with us their experiences with regard to conflict resolution . It appears that the Sri Lanka Government delegation also has benefited with whatever interaction they had with the South African people. However, it was an introductory process and I personally have faith in them and I think they have lot of experience and knowledge and expect that they will behave with the sense of responsibility and they will be truthful to whatever they do. It is a process, we are prepared to encourage and we have to wait and see how sincere the Sri Lankan Government is in regard to genuinely pursuing the process. We will see.
Asian Tribune: That means you are expecting a third party mediation?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: We are not asking or seeking for a third party mediation or third party facilitation. I am not assigning any particular role to South Africans, but since the South Africans have talked to the Sri Lankan Government and as the Sri Lankan Government also has accepted their good offices, and Sri Lankan Government’s team has gone and come back, therefore we ourselves are prepared to extend to the South African initiative our fullest cooperation, subjected to Sri Lankan Government’s genuine commitment to taking the process forward, because in the past two years we have been quiet disappointed over their conduct.
Asian Tribune: Who were the people in your delegation who participated in the talks in South Africa?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: The TNA delegation which went to South Africa included myself, Mr. Senathirajah, Mr. Suresh Premachandran, Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan and Mr. Sumanthiran.
Asian Tribune: How many days you were in South Africa?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: One week. We were there from Monday to Sunday.
Asian Tribune: Did you all met with the President of South Africa?
Mr.R.Sampanthan: No we did not meet the President. We met with the persons who were involved in the negotiation process from earlier on.
Asian Tribune: Is it possible for you to tell us the names of those people?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: Mr. Ralph Meyer who was the chief person on behalf of the whites, Mr. Ivor Jenkins, then Mr. Baba Mohamed and several other people and there were whole lot of people who were dealing with number of questions, such as reconciliation, political solutions, land , police and various other subjects, such as financial devolution etc., .
Asian Tribune: So it seems you are satisfied with the talks you had in South Africa?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: It was a good visit.
Visiting Geneva and the International pressure on Sri Lanka
Asian Tribune: Is there any move by TNA to go to Geneva to participate in the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: It is too early to talk about it. We have not met yet and talked about it. We may meet to consider in the coming weeks?
Asian Tribune: I saw a news item that, ‘you may go or you may not go’ – I read that in a Tamil language daily? You haven’t decided about that?
Mr. R, Sampanthan: No .. no .. no.
Asian Tribune: Your position if there is going to be a resolution against the Government? It has been already indicated that US is coming up with another resolution against the Sri Lanka Government? Your position?
Mr. R.Sampanthan:The Government is bringing this upon itself and why should I talk about it? Please understand that the government is bringing this situation upon itself.
I told the President when I met him in October 2010, to seriously engage with the TNA , discuss a political solution seriously, involve us in the rehabilitation, resettlement process and if you do that, the international process will diminish, but on the contrary the international pressure will give you more financial support to proceed with the rehabilitation, resettlement programme. The Diaspora will get involved with that programme -, the moment we come in, the programme can be taken forward and subsequently all the international pressure will diminish. He will be moving towards a different situation. I told him somewhere in October - November 2010. I sent him a letter confirming my discussion to him. I told him to appoint two committees - one to deal with political solution and one to deal with rehabilitation, resettlement and all that types of things, but he did not do that. He did nothing and now he is paying for his sin. Therefore why should I talk about it?
Asian Tribune: What about you all visiting Washington DC? I think the US invitation is still pending?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: I don’t think that there is any necessity now. We might consider about it may be sometime later.
TNA Joining the Joint Opposition Group
Asian Tribune: On 11th Monday there was a meeting of the likeminded opposition parties. I learnt that the TNA representatives were also there. Mr. Sumanthiran was there?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: Yes our Party was represented in that meeting. They are trying to force some unity and they are prepared to look at our issue also objectively and our participation and our support will always be there.
Asian Tribune So TNA will be in a united opposition group?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: No .. no .. no. We are not saying that. We are not taking this stand or that stand or whatever. We are open minded and we reserve to our flexibility with regards to our decision and we will make our decision in the best interest of our people and we go alone, but when others are being in agreement that our issues to be resolved, so we are supportive of them.
Asian Tribune: That doesn’t mean that you are a part and parcel of the opposition grouping?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: I want say either yes or no.
Asian Tribune: That means you are not ready to divulge your stance on a united opposition to the Government?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: Why should I close the option with regard to anything?
Land issue in the Jaffna Peninsula
Asian Tribune: Regarding this land issue in Jaffna, It is reported that Opposition Leader Mr, Ranil Wickremasinghe will be in Jaffna to participate in a protest campaign and I learnt that TNA also has indicated that it will participate in that protest campaign. I want to have your comment?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: Lands in Valikamam North must be given back to the people.
Asian Tribune: But in the beginning of this week Mr. Hathurusingha has said something different?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: Who is this Mr. Hathurusinha?
Asian Tribune: Major General Hathurusinha is the commanding officer in charge of the Jaffna Peninsula.
Mr. Sampanthan: How can he speak about these things? He is not the Government of this country? He is not the President of the Country?
Asian Tribune: At a press conference held in Jaffna last Monday, it was reported that he said that they are vesting greater portion of those lands for the extension of the Palaly airport and some other things?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: We can’t accept those decisions of Mr. Hathurusinha. We have to deal with the Government and the Government has already made a commitment to the Supreme Court that all those lands will be returned to the people. So the Government must keep its commitments.
Asian Tribune: When was that?
Mr. R. Sampanthan: That was some time ago, I remember it was some two three years ago we filed an action in the Supreme court and the government made a commitment to the supreme court that all those lands will be returned to the people.
Tamil Nadu Politicians interfering in Sri Lankan Tamil issues
Asian Tribune: About this Tamil Nadu politicians taking up the Sri Lankan Tamils political issues, have TNA given them a mandate to do that?
Mr. R.Sampanthan: no .. we have not given anybody any mandate to speak on our behalf or do anything for us.
However, I think they are interested in their Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and that is why they are expressing their views and I have nothing to say about it.
- Asian Tribune -