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TNA takes up NE re-merger with UK ...promises ‘constitutional protection’ to prevent separation
Published Date: 06/10/2017 (Friday)

TNA leader R. Sampanthan has called for re-merger of the Eastern and Northern Provinces during talks with visiting UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field at Westminster House in Colombo.

Supreme Court de-merged the Eastern Province from the North in Oct 2006. The two provinces were linked in accordance with the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987 pending a referendum that was never held.

Detailing the current political situation to the British delegation, Sampanthan has said that the TNA genuinely participated in the processes of framing a new Constitution.A TNA spokesman quoted Sampanthan as having explained the need for the Northern and the Eastern provinces to function as one province given the fact that the two provinces represent largely Tamil speaking communities. Sampanthan was also quoted as having said "Majority Sinhala community need not be afraid of the merger of these two provinces as there will be a constitutional protection preventing any move towards separation. The power-sharing arrangements will be worked out within a United, Undivided and Indivisible Sri Lanka"; Sampanthan had pointed out to the visiting Minister.

Highlighting the Constitution making process Sampanthan had said from 1957 onwards there had been various attempts made to recognize the pluralism in the country, but unfortunately, none of those efforts came to be realized.

"The need for a power sharing arrangement has been in discussion for over 30 years since 1957.  Only in 1987 with the involvement of Indian Government for the very first time a power sharing arrangement was recognized in the constitution of this country" Sampanthan has said. "From that time, onwards steps were taken by every successive Government to address the National question and evolve a final solution". 

The TNA leader has said "we are seeking an arrangement that will enable people to exercise powers related to their Social, cultural, economic, and political matters based on the principle of sovereignty of the people as citizens of this country.  The TNA leader has also stated that "this power should not be taken back in anyway".

Framing a new Constitution is an important task in finding a resolution to the national question Mr Sampanthan has said. "We can’t fail in it if we fail there will be a recurrence of violence". Speaking of the consequences of the violence in the past Sampanthan has said, "fifty percent of the Sri Lankan Tamils live outside the country" and if we don’t find a lasting solution more people will leave the country" he has cautioned.

Answering a question regarding the role of the diaspora members Sampanthan had said that the Diaspora was adopting a pragmatic approach; they too would like to see an acceptable resolution to the issue

The TNA Leader had highlighted the importance of the role of the International community at this very important juncture of this country and said "that the United Kingdom must make all efforts to support these processes to see a positive end" and also to ensure that the Government of Sri Lanka delivers on urgent matters like release of private lands, issue of missing persons and political prisoners.

The British Minister had assured the TNA Leader of the constructive engagement of the UK government and wished the TNA leader all success for all his efforts in framing a new Constitution.  Along with Minister Mark Field the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Sri Lanka James Dauris and other High Commission officials were present at the meeting.

Source: The Island

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