TNA briefs Akashi on stalled talks

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has had talks with visiting Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi where he was briefed on the stalled political discussions with the government.

TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran told the Colombo Gazette that the meeting with Mr. Akashi lasted for over hours last night but insisted that there was offer from him to mediate between the government and the TNA.

Sumanthiran said that at the meeting Akashi was also appraised on the ground situation in the north and east and the TNA hopes Akashi will raise some concerns they had when he meets the President during his ongoing visit.

Asked if there were any signs of the stalled government-TNA talks resuming any time soon Sumanthiran responded in the negative.

Meanwhile last morning External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told Akashi the government was prepared to appoint immediately the Parliamentary Select Committee, consisting of all political parties in Parliament, to address political and constitutional issues.

The External Affairs Ministry said that Akashi was also briefed in detail about the procedures set in motion by the government for implementation of the LLRC recommendations, the progress already achieved and priority objectives for the future.

He explained that the work connected with the resettlement of internally displaced persons, the re-integration of ex-combatants and de-mining operations are almost complete.

Minister Peiris responded to the request by Ambassador Akashi for information relating to aspects of the reconciliation process, including action taken by the government with regard to the trilingual language capability initiative and the recruitment of more than 700 Tamil speaking police officers in the Northern Province.

Land issues, and the government’s approach to their solution ̶ including the proposed appointment of a Land Commission ̶ were referred to in the discussion.

(Report by Easwaran Rutnam)