May 31, 2018

Sampathan tells US delegation of SL’s need for new Constitution Featured

The majority of the people in this country are willing to address the national issue once and for all and what is lacking is the courage from the Sinhala leaders to go out to the people and explicitly tell them of the need for a new Constitution and the benefits of framing a new Constitution, Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan told a US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee delegation yesterday.

The visiting US delegation, led by McClellen Thornberry, met with the Leader of the Opposition yesterday in Colombo, according to dailynews.lk.

Answering a question, Sampanthan said some Sinhala political leaders are trying to satisfy the hardliners rather than being just and equal to all people in this country. “They cannot go on this path forever; it will only end up in history being repeated.”

According to a statement from the TNA, Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the current political situation in the country and emphasised the importance of both the President and Prime Minister working together in order to find solutions to fundamental issues and taking this country forward. “We are unhappy about the way the country is progressing,” Sampanthan said.

“We want a solution within a united, undivided and indivisible country,” Sampanthan said.”

Expressing his concerns on the stalled process of drafting a new Constitution, Sampanthan said, “The legitimate demands of the Tamil people in finding a lasting solution to the national question could only be addressed through adopting a new Constitution,” he said.

He said that his party is confident that if the Constitution is passed in Parliament with a two-thirds majority, it will be approved by the people at a referendum, which is necessary for a new Constitution.
“Our people will be forced to re-think our position if things do not go well and if things are not achieved within a certain timeframe,” Sampanthan cautioned.

Sampanthan reminded the delegation that the government of Sri Lanka has given a commitment to fully implement the UNHRC resolution adopted in 2015 before March 2019. They must fast-track their process to achieve those commitments. He said the international community must ensure that the promises and the commitments given by the Sri Lankan government are adhered to and implemented. The international community cannot be a spectator anymore with regard to Sri Lanka.

Along with Thornberry, Congress members Enrigue Cullar, Vicky Hartzler, Carol Shea-Porter and the US Ambassador Atul Keshap was also present at the meeting.

US-based advocacy group PEARL says there have been 44 US-Sri Lanka military engagements since the 34th HRC in March 2017.

The US officials also had meetings with president Maithripala Sirisena and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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