TNA MP proposes third party mediation
Mar 31, 2011

The political dialogue between the government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has hit a fresh snag with MP Suresh Premachandran suggesting third party mediation for talks.

Mr. Premachandran told the Daily Mirror that he requested both the government and his party to give serious thought to his suggestion if they were genuinely interested in evolving an early solution. He said the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) or the South Asian Association for regional Co-operation (SAARC) could possibly play such a mediatory role.

"We had talks with the government for more than one year. It took us nowhere. Therefore, in my opinion, third party mediation is absolutely needed for the successful conclusion of talks. This is my humble suggestion. I do not propose anyone in particular as the facilitator. However, it can be the UN, the EU, the SAARC or a group of nations. Going by our past experiences, I believe that such a role is all the more important," the TNA MP said.

Also, he scorned the government's claim that a homegrown solution should be worked out without any external intervention or interference. "This claim is meaningless. We know the government appointed various committees. Initially, it was the All Party Representative Committee. It was followed by various other committees such as the expert committee. Now they have proposed the parliamentary select committee. There are serious issues here even after the LTTE was defeated," he said.

During the series of talks, he said that the government handed over two documents to the TNA regarding the proposal for the establishment of a Senate and a Panchayat Raj system as in India.

"The Senate is for the sharing of powers in the centre. We are for that. Yet, we need a power sharing arrangement at provincial level. The President himself articulated that he is ready for the maximum possible devolution of power within a united Sri Lanka," Mr. Premachandran said. Responding to Mr. Premachandran, Government MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha said it would not be a good idea to have third parties for the purpose.

Prof. Wijesinha said, "It does not seem a good idea, given that third parties, as we have seen, do not really understand the Sri Lankan situation and the different motivations on all sides. In fact, if Suresh made such a suggestion, it is an example of this because I have not heard the idea previously from the TNA."

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka