Sri Lanka President mellows in talks with Tamils

ECONOMYNEXT – President Maithripala Sirisena appeared to have softened his hardline position during talks with the Tamil national Alliance in a bid to end the constitutional deadlock that has crippled the country, official sources said.

The talks started nearly two hours behind schedule, but they went off well with Sirisena dropping his insistence that he will never reinstate Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, a legislator at the talks said.

“Earlier, he told us that he will never make Ranil the PM, but today his position was that it would be difficult for him to work with Ranil,” a Tamil lawmaker said adding that they noted a marked climb down by Sirisena.

He urged the TNA and the others to bring a fresh No Confidence Motion against Mahinda Rajapakse when the assembly meets again on Wednesday and take a fresh vote by name instead of the voice vote that was taken twice before.

“We saw lot of changes in his stance and he is also a very worried man that he will face an impeachment, or worse still, prosecution in courts,” the lawmaker said asking not to be named.

However, TNA leader R. Sampanthan assured Sirisena that the Tamil party which controls 14 seats in the assembly will not support a move to impeach the president.

Sampanthan had said that Tamils voted for Sirisena and therefore the TNA will not vote against him and still harboured hope that he would deliver his promises on ethnic reconciliation.

Sirisena promised he will hold a meeting with the Attorney General on December 3 to discuss the issue of releasing Tamil political prisoners numbering over 100 who are languishing in jail for long periods without any charges brought against them.

Sirisena was due to hold separate talks with the United National Party and its allies later Friday. (COLOMBO, November 30, 2018)






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