President Ranil Wickremesinghe Invites all Tamil MPs for Talks Next week to Discuss issues faced by the Tamil people and how to resolve them amicably without any outside interference before the 75th Independence celebrations next year

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Addressing Parliament yesterday (10), President Ranil Wickremesinghe invited all Tamil MPs for a discussion scheduled next week in regard to issues faced by the Tamil people and to resolve them amicably without any outside interference prior to the 75th Independence celebrations.

President Wickremesinghe said: “We are discussing issues of the Tamil people in the North. For now, we have released a number of prisoners and there are many to be released. For example, there is a writer against whom a case has been filed. When the action is concluded and if he is proven guilty, he too will be given the same support. He had been linked to the Piththala Junction attack. We will discuss this issue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the relevant former President. We want to solve this issue.”

He emphasised that the issue of missing persons will also be discussed and noted that so far, 2,000 files relating to their cases have been completed.

“We will also discuss missing persons. When we handed over power in 2019, there were only 65 files that had been addressed and now 2,000 have been completed. I have told the relevant Minister to complete this issue. Once the files are obtained, we can all talk,” he told the Tamil MPs in the Opposition.

He also noted that laws pertaining to truth and reconciliation, the Counter Terrorism Act, and the Anti-Corruption Act will be prepared by the Ministry of Justice, and will be presented to Parliament in January or February 2023.

President Wickremesinghe also said in Parliament that the Government has development plans for the North as well as the East (N-E).
“We have a development plan for the North. I am obtaining an assessment of the renewable energy potential in the North and the possibility of using green hydrogen. If you get green hydrogen on a competitive basis, the whole Northern economy will improve. The bulk of our renewable energy will be from Puttalam, and all the way to Trincomalee. There are other developments that we started as well, such as the development in Trincomalee for tourism. There are a fair number of development projects we want to initiate and thereby settle this. All of us are Sri Lankans; therefore let us all get together and make it a point to solve these issues before the 75th Independence Day,” he added.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Morning, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesman and MP President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran said that his party would participate in the discussions and will mainly press on the Tamil national ethnic question.

“When President Wickremesinghe said the same on Deepavali, I responded the next day and said that we will fully co-operate. He knows the necessity and that it must be done quickly. The resolution of the Tamil national question will be our main focus. The President is aware of these issues and knows that solutions can be found through a new Constitution. He himself presented a draft to Parliament on 16 January 2019, and it has to be taken forward,” he further added.

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Mano Ganesan said that his party wpuld press the matter of missing persons during the discussions, including not only those who went missing in the North and the East, but in the South as well.
“The Office on Missing Persons was formed under the guidance of President Wickremesinghe when he was the Prime Minister, during the United National Front-led Government. We will see that disappearance would be made a crime, whether it is in the North, South, or anywhere. This issue should be addressed,” he added.

Ganesan noted that even if the missing persons are no longer alive, it should be known as to what had happened to them.

“All that the families of the missing persons demand to know is what has happened to their dear ones. Only then can we implement the South African model and mechanism. Then, the victims and the perpetrators can come and shake hands. They can forgive each other. This accusation is against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam too, and not only the Security Forces. So both sides must come and understand what had happened in the past. This will be a beginning of a new Sri Lanka,” he elaborated.

However, Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK) MP C.V. Wigneswaran noted that although he will not participate in the discussion, he will extend his support to the decisions taken and write to President Wickremesinghe regarding his suggestions and recommendations.

President Wickremesinghe assured on 14 September at the first graduation ceremony of the National Defence College that a final settlement with the Tamils and the Northern population of the country would be reached within the next few months.

Courtesy:The Morning