Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said today that Sri Lanka should not listen to India with regard to the implementation of the 13th Amendment as the national problem was inherently one that should be solved by Sri Lankans. “We should not listen to India on this; this doesn’t meant that we lose the relationship we have with India. But if there is a problem it should only be solved by Sri Lankans and not India,” he said.
He said the national question should have a homegrown solution — and the debate about 13th Amendment should not affect the relations between the two countries.
“India is our friend and we need to continue the good relations. This should not be an issue to strain our relationship, and I’m of the view that India understands that. They should understand that this is inherently a Sri Lankan issue and we have to address it with a solution that we devise” he said,
Rajapaksa said the “alienation of provinces based on ethnicity” was not the solution to the ethnic issue.
“This is not the solution; and it has failed. There are Tamils living in all parts of the country and Muslims too — so what about them? How does the Provincial Council system solve their problems? I believe in the decentralisation of administration; but I don’t believe that areas should be demarcated according to ethnicity, religion, caste or creed. This country belongs to all Sri Lankans and we have to think in those terms,” he said. (Hafeel Farisz)