UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday told the visiting Indian parliamentary delegation that a post-war political solution should be within a unitary and undivided Sri Lanka.
The Hambantota District MP emphasized that any solution must not be inimical to the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, political independence.
The Indian delegation arrived in Colombo earlier in the day on a fact-finding mission in the wake of India voting for the US-sponsored resolution captioned ‘Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka’ urging the GoSL to implement the constructive recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.
The Indian delegates met their Sri Lankan counterparts at the parliamentary complex. The Indian delegation led by Leader of the Opposition MP Shrimathi Sushma Swaraj, comprises 12 members, both from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The two main parties representing Tamil Nadu, DMK and ruling AIADMK opted out of the delegation alleging the GoSL wasn’t interested in genuine reconciliation.
While thanking the Government of India for supporting GoSL’s campaign to eradicate LTTE terrorism, MP Premadasa emphasized the responsibility on the part of the SriLankan government to usher in permanent peace. Every citizen should be given the opportunity to live with dignity, which meant the empowerment of people politically, economically and socially, he said. Premadasa reiterated the Opposition’s commitment to the protection of the territorial integrity, unitary status and political independence of the country.
He emphasized the importance of people of all communities enjoying post-war benefits in a prosperous and peaceful Sri Lanka.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan accused the government of purposely delaying the negotiated political process. An irate parliamentarian didn’t mince his words when he blamed the government for failing to take forward the peace process, though the war ended in May three years ago.
Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, while reiterating commitment to the peace process, underscored the difficulties experienced by the government due to it being a coalition. The minister said as the ruling coalition had to appease all constituent members, the ongoing peace process was a difficult process. The Indian delegation reacted strongly to an assessment by Minister De Silva that with the conclusion of the conflict the government had allowed fishermen the freedom to operate. A member of the delegation pointed out that it was the right of the fishermen to engage in their livelihood.
The visiting delegation reiterated India’s commitment to the protection of Sri Lanka, while warning that there wouldn’t be permanent peace unless the grievances of the Tamil speaking people were met.
Among those present at the meeting were MPs John Amaratunga, Dinesh Gunawardena, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, S. Muralidharan and Suresh Premachandran.
By Shamindra Ferdinando