Indian PM wants Tamil grievances addressed – Sunday Leader
[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 July 2006, 16:12 GMT]
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed serious concern at the lack of progress on the peace front in Colombo and called for the legitimate grievances of the Tamil people to be addressed urgently, the Sunday Leader reported this week. Meanwhile a Sri Lankan delegation has rushed to China on security-related matters, the paper added.
Manmohan Singh, India's Prime Minister
The Indian Prime Minister who met with the leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP), Ranil Wickremesinghe, in New Delhi last Thursday had also said war was not an option to solve the ethnic conflict.
A UNP delegation led by Wickremesinghe flew to Delhi last week to discuss its withdrawal from a bi-partisan arrangement between the UNP and the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) thrashed out by a senior Indian envoy earlier this month.
When he met the UNP delegation, the Indian Premier was accompanied by National Security Advisor, N. K. Narayanan, External Affairs Secretary Shyam Saran, High Commissioner Nirupama Rao and head of the Sri Lanka desk in Delhi, Mohan Kumar.
Wickremesinghe was accompanied for the meeting by MPs John Amaratunge, Milinda Moragoda and Dr. Valsan.
The Sunday Leader learnt the Indian Premier had also stressed the importance of the UNP and SLFP working together to achieve a solution based on devolution of power, which will meet the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people.
Wickremesinghe, it is learnt had informed the Indian Premier his party's proposals were already on the table and he stands ready to discuss them with President Rajapakse at a bi-lateral level.
The UNP Leader said his party did not see any purpose in participating at the Representative Committee tasked with formulating a set of proposals since there was no consensus possible and in the absence of a clear government policy.
However, he said the UNP stands ready to have bi-lateral talks with the SLFP both at leadership and party levels to work on a viable solution and discuss the party's proposals.
Meanwhile, as the UNP opposition went to Delhi, a government delegation rushed to China, the Sunday Leader reported adding, the latter “was almost a knee jerk reaction” to the former.
“A secret visit by the President's Co-ordinating Secretary Sajin Vass Gunawardene to China last week in the company of some service personnel becomes significant, details of which of course cannot be divulged due to security considerations,” the paper said.
“Suffice it to say, five tickets were booked on a Singapore Airlines flight hurriedly in the morning to fly out the same evening [of the UNP’s visit to India].”
“That move alone underscores the approach of the government to the issues confronting the country,” the pro-UNP Sunday Leader’s political column added.