SL-TNA Talks Likely After Modi's Advice
By P K Balachandran | Published: 30th August 2014 06:00 AM |
COLOMBO: With the Indian PM Narendra Modi urging the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to begin talks with the island government to find a solution to the Tamil question and intitiate steps for development works in the Tamil-speaking Northern Province, the Sri Lankan establishment has signaled its readiness to resume the discussions.
The General Secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Susil Premajayantha told the media that the government is ready for talks with the TNA if the party makes a request for it. This is in sharp contrast to the stand thus far taken by the establishment in Colombo, which is that there can be no talks with the TNA outside the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to find a political solution to the ethnic issue.
Responding to Premajayantha, TNA MP, M A Sumanthiran, said on Thursday that the TNA has always been ready for the talks and it was the government which did not come for the talks. Therefore, it is the government which should take the first step, he said.
TNA General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah said that the government is talking of resuming talks with the TNA only because of international pressure.
Sumanthiran told Express that Modi had urged resumption of bilateral talks between the TNA and the Lankan government. “The issue of joining the PSC did not at all figure in our talks with Modi ,” Sumanthiran said.
It has been the government’s argument that any generally acceptable solution to emerge, the appropriate forum is the PSC. But the TNA has been saying that the PSC is weighted in favour of pro-government and Sinhalese nationalist parties which will not tolerate devolving power to the Tamil-speaking provinces.