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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Sri Lanka: Tamil parties to give 7-day ultimatum to President Wickremesinghe

  • Demands Wickremesinghe submits to 3 demands made by the party to resolve issues of Tamils in the North and East 
  • Says the party will walk out of reconciliation talks if Wickremesinghe fails to deliver on the requests within a week
  • TNA expressed its dismay last week at the lack of progress following talks with the President and warned of a possible walkout

Tamil political parties led by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has decided to give President Ranil Wickremesinghe a seven-day ultimatum during which he will be expected to fulfil three demands made by the party.

Speaking to the Daily FT, Vanni District TNA MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan said the party has decided to walk out of talks with President Wickremesinghe if these demands are not met within the time frame set out.

The TNA is demanding the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the release of all lands belonging to Tamils in the North and East occupied by the military or other Government agencies and the release of all Tamil political prisoners.

The TNA and its coalition partners met at TNA Leader R. Sampanthan’s residence on Monday ahead of the third round of talks with President Wickremesinghe which is expected to take place later today. Tamil political parties are set to meet with Wickremesinghe for a marathon round of talks from 10-12 January.

The meeting with the TNA Leader was attended by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi Mavai Senathirajah Leader MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan, Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front Leader Suresh Premachandran and MP S. Shritharan.

According to Adaikkalanathan, the decision to give Wickremesinghe an ultimatum was decided at this meeting and will be communicated during the discussion with him.

Last week the TNA expressed its dismay at what it saw as a lack of progress following the talks with President Wickremesinghe. Sumanthiran following the second round of talks said Wickremesinghe had merely reiterated what was already discussed at the previous meeting and warned the TNA may decide to scrap further talks with the President.

Wickremesinghe had invited the Tamil parties for talks on 20 November and pledged to resolve their pending issues before the nation’s 75th Independence Day falling on 4 February. Following this, the TNA also supported the Government’s Budget for 2023 because it said Wickremesinghe had shown a desire to resolve the Tamil national question.

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