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UNP tells President to create conducive environment to resolve ethnic issue

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A UNP delegation, headed by its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, had told President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during their talks on Monday, that a conducive environment needs to be created if he really wanted their support to resolve the ethnic question.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, who had participated in the discussions, told The Island that they reiterated their willingness to support a political solution to the ethnic issue within a united Sri Lanka, while urging the President and his ministers to adopt an inclusive approach.

Asked what was meant by conducive environment, he said that the government needs to act responsibly and not label them as “traitors” just because they had spoken to the Tamil National Alliance(TNA), which after all represents the majority of Tamils in the country.

“We, also told President Rajapaksa that he should use whatever agreements that had been reached with the TNA, as the basis for further discussions with them,” Attanayake said adding that the UNP had conveyed its willingness to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee on the National Question.

The UNP, he said was in agreement with the government submitting its devolution proposals to parliament, since it was the supreme body.

Attanayake said that the President had assured them that he would respond to their suggestions after discussing it with his parliamentary group.

Questioned as to when the next meeting would be held, he said that no date had been fixed.

The UNP delegation had included the Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga and Ravi Karunanayake MP.

The government was represented by Ministers Nimal Siripala De Silva, Susil Premajayanth, Maithripala Sirisena, Basil Rajapaksa, Dallas Allahapperuma and Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga.

by Zacki Jabbar


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