TNA says no progress on talks

The main minority Tamil political party in Sri Lanka said onTuesday that moves aimed at reaching a political solution to the ethnic issue in the country remained deadlocked.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator M.A. Sumanthiran told Xinhua that his party leader R.Sampanthan and the leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) RanilWickremesinghe had met over the weekend in an attempt to look for a way forward.

Following the end of a 30-year war between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the military three yearsago the government and the TNA began talks aimed at reaching a political solution.

However the talks were suspended late last year after the government insisted that the TNAtake part in a parliament process involving all the political parties to reach a political solution.

The TNA refused to be part of the process known as the Parliament Select Committee (PSC)until an agreement is reached at direct talks between the government and the TNA.

“Mr. Sampanthan met Mr. Wickrememesinghe and discussed several issues regarding thePSC. But there is still no decision or progress. Our position remains that we will join the PSConly once an agreement is reached in bilateral talks with the government. However thegovernment does not seem keen to resume bilateral talks,” Sumanthiran said.

Sumanthiran also said that there was an attempt made by the UNP leader to push thegovernment to have bilateral talks with the TNA while also going ahead with the PSC but thegovernment had failed to respond positively to the request.

Amidst pressure from its allies the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has refused tohave talks only with the TNA on the basis that they are not the sole representatives of theTamils.

However the UNP has refused to take part in the PSC until the government reaches anagreement with the TNA to join the process.

As a result the PSC has also remained deadlocked despite pressure from Sri Lanka’s biggestneighbor India which wants the government to reach a speedy political solution which isacceptable to all the communities in the country. (Xinhua)