Committee soon on process of reconciliation
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday met representatives of various Tamil parties, barring the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), to discuss aspects of a “post-conflict reconciliation”.
The President's Secretariat described it as a landmark meeting with members of the Tamil Parties' Forum (TPF), an umbrella organisation of Tamil parties outside the TNA. “The meeting was significant in that those present comprised Tamil politicians who had strongly opposite views in dealing with the problems of the LTTE and a solution to the ethnic conflict,” it said.
Among those present were Minister Douglas Devananda, V. Anandasankari, T Siddarthan and Chelvanayakam Chandrahasan, son of the former Federal Party and TULF leader, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, who is active in relief work for Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu.
TNA, which bagged a majority of the seats in the Northern and Eastern provinces in the April general election, has, in recent weeks, consented to the view that a political settlement to the ethnic conflict would have to be within a united Sri Lanka.
It was decided to appoint a committee comprising members of the TPF and other Tamil political parties to review the situation regarding internally-displaced persons and other affected Tamil persons, and have regular interaction with the government on their needs. Mr. Devananda said the committee could play a major role in the process of reconciliation.
The TPF representatives informed the President that they have come to an understanding and constituted a common forum to strive for a permanent political solution to the ethnic problem and also work towards solving the immediate issues faced by the Tamil people.
They said they believed a political solution should be found within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, thus enabling the Tamil people to participate fully in their own governance in the North and East. They said the TPF had initiated discussions with other political parties to forge consensus on political solution.
The issue of Tamil persons detained for long periods under the Emergency Regulation or the Prevention of Terrorism Act without being indicted was discussed and a request was made for its speedy settlement.