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Ranil: we’ll cooperate with all stakeholders in finding solution

[Hindu, Saturday, 4 September 2010 07:01 No Comment]

 The former Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, at an interaction in The Hindu office in Chennai on Friday.  The United National Party will cooperate with all stakeholders in the efforts to find a political solution to the Tamils issue, the former Sri Lankan Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Friday.

“We are for a solution… We will cooperate with the TNA [the Tamil National Alliance], the [Sri Lankan] government and the Indian government,” he said, in an interaction with journalists at The Hindu.

Mr. Wickremesinghe stressed the need for involving Members of Parliament belonging to the TNA (the Tamil party won 14 seats in the last general election) to decide the timing of the provincial election in the North.

“All MPs must be involved. Let them decide what is an appropriate time for the elections,” he said.

The TNA too will have to be realistic about the changed situation and be prepared to make some compromises.

“[The] TNA has to be very specific and put down on paper what exactly we need taking into account the current situation. The whole environment has changed,” he said.

Mr. Wickremesinghe underlined the importance of all Sri Lankans being treated as equals to ensure lasting peace. For normality to be restored in the North, “the basic thing” related to building infrastructure.

“The other is the feeling of equality [for Tamils in the North] and security,” he said. Devolution of powers to the province too was an important criterion.

On the camps erected by the Sri Lankan government for the internally displaced, he said that the conditions had improved because many had moved out. But there was a possibility of some people moving back into the camps, once the monsoon starts next month.

On the instances of the Sri Lankan Navy firing at Indian fishermen, Mr. Wickremesinghe said sometimes Indian fishermen entered Sri Lankan waters. “You have to sit down and discuss the practical problems of how you are going to patrol this area. This is a problem for both India and Sri Lanka,” he said and wanted India and Sri Lanka to come up with a “practical, unified plan” to patrol the waters between the two countries.

The fishermen population had grown, the boats had grown bigger and better, and their engines had become more powerful. Hence, coordination between agencies in both Sri Lanka and India was required to address the problem, he said.

The Hindu : Front Page : Ranil: we’ll cooperate with all stakeholders in finding solution

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