The President had decided to hold an all party conference due to the delay by the opposition political parties to nominate representatives to the Parliamentary Select Committee proposed to find a political solution to the ethnic issue.
“The basis of the discussions between the Tamil National Alliance and the government should be the report of the All Party Representatives Conference (APRC), handed over to the president in early 2008, which was led by an expert committee,” Ganesan said. The SLFP, the main party in the ruling alliance, had participated in that exercise.
The APRC report suggested a number of proposals in favour of devolution of power to the provinces. It would provide a platform for the government and other political parties to discuss and reach an agreement on the level of devolution to be implemented, he said.
Ganesan also said that the government presiding over a new all party conference would ultimately result in the implementation of the government’s position on the devolution of power, which might result in aggravating the grievances of the Tamil Community.
“The world eagerly looks for a fair and just solution to the Tamil question and this is not a time to start from the very beginning when the government already had the APRC Report as a basis for the discussions,” he said.
Responding to a query, Ganesan said that the Eastern provincial council unanimously approving that the land powers should be vested with the provincial councils, was an important move to stress to the government the need to devolve power.
By Pabodha Hettige