(Text Of Press Statement Issued Through the Media Office of the Tamil National Alliance on 30.05.2018)
The visiting United States House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Delegation led by Hon. McClellen Thornberry met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Mr. Sampanthan today in Colombo.
Mr. Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the current political situation in the country and emphasized the importance of both President and Prime Minister Working together in order to find solutions to fundamental issues and taking this country forward. “We are unhappy about the way the country is progressing,” Mr. Sampanthan told the delegation.
Answering a question Mr. Sampanthan said, that “the majority of the people in this country are willing to address the national issue once and for all. What is lacking is that the courage from the Sinhala leaders to go out to the people and explicitly tell them on the need for a new Constitution and the benefits of framing a new Constitution he said. Some Sinhala political leaders are trying to satisfy the hardliners than being just and equal to all people in this country, they cannot go on this path forever, it will only end up in history being repeated Mr. Sampanthan said.
Further Speaking Mr. Sampanthan said, “Especially the President and the Prime Minister must go to the Sinhala people and genuinely explain the need for a new Constitution. Since 1988 every successive government and President have made several attempts to change the present Constitution, therefore, this should not be a difficult task for the majority of Sinhala people to understand” he said.
We want a solution within a united undivided and indivisible country Mr. Sampanthan said. The power-sharing arrangements should be in accordance with the international covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Mr. Sampanthan told the delegation.
Expressing his concerns on the stalled process of drafting a new Constitution Mr. Sampanthan said that a New Constitution would pave the way to solve many issues that this country has faced including the heavy debt and economic prosperity, and therefore this effort cannot be abandoned he said”.
Explaining further Mr. Sampanthan said that the legitimate demands of the Tamil people in finding a lasting solution to the national question could only be addressed through adopting a new Constitution. Mr. Sampanthan highlighted that his party is confident that if the Constitution is passed in Parliament with a two-thirds majority it will be approved by the people at a referendum, which is necessary for a new Constitution he said.
We may have to rethink and our people will be forced to rethink our position if things do not go well and if things are not achieved within a certain time frame Mr. Sampanthan cautioned.
Mr. Sampanthan reminded the delegation that the Government of Sri Lanka has given a Commitment to fully implement the UNHRC resolution adopted in 2015 before March 2019. They must fast-track their process to achieve those commitments.
Mr. Sampanthan urged the delegation that the role of the International community with regard to Sri Lanka must be defined in relation to the UNHRC recommendations. The International community must ensure that the promises and the commitments given by the Sri Lankan Government are adhered to and implemented. The International community cannot be a spectator anymore with regard to Sri Lanka, if the government of Sri Lanka continues to fail in their commitments the international community must clearly state their position on their follow up mechanisms to safeguard the victims and ensure the non-recurrence of the past Mr. Sampanthan said.
Along with Hon. McClellen Thornberry the congress members, Mr. EnrigueCullar, Ms. Vicky Hartzler, Ms. Carol Shea – Porter and the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka His Excellency AtulKeshap was also present at the meeting which lasted for 45 minutes.