TNA softens stand on PSC participation
Apr 19, 2014

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said it would reconsider its decision to boycott the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to seek a political solution to the national question, provided the government addressed issues of mutual concern.

Speaking to Daily Mirror, TNA spokesman Jaffna district MP Suresh Premachandran said there had been several attempts in the recent past to woo the TNA to talks while ignoring its concerns.

He was responding to PSC Chairman Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva’s invitation to the TNA yesterday to join the committee.

This comes in the backdrop of Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran hinting on March 31 that the TNA should reconsider its decision to boycott the PSC. He was speaking during the Bernard Soysa Birth Anniversary Oration at the Tamil Sangam Hall in Wellawatta.

Mr. Wigneswaran had opined that if the TNA brought to the table reports and recommendations of committees that had addressed these matters in the past – especially those of the Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa eras – and directed the PSC to move forward from where these committees had left, the TNA had no reason to keep away from the committee.

Mr. Premachandran stressed that if the TNA participated unilaterally without the government addressing its concerns, the government would bulldoze its agenda through its majority votes in the PSC, thereby giving the impression to the local and international community that the PSC had reached a consensus with all parties in parliament to resolve the ethnic issue, and this would be detrimental to the Tamil people.

In April 2010 the TNA sought to engage the government to evolve a political settlement and address the immediate concerns of the Tamil people in the aftermath of the war. In May 2012 the Opposition Leader wrote to the government and the TNA and made a statement in parliament on the issue. It had been agreed that the government would endorse the agenda mooted by the Opposition Leader, but no such endorsement has been made in the House to date.

Mr. Premachandran welcomed the initiatives of Minister de Silva and Mr. Wigneswaran, and added that the PSC was clearly the vehicle by which the government intended to achieve its objective. This is why the TNA was insisting on reaching an understanding with the government before entering the PSC process, he said.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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