Enactment of constitution a prerequisite for sustainable peace, development, progress: Sampanthan

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Tamil National Alliance Leader Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan has underlined that the exercise of making Constitution is a prerequisite to sustainable peace, development and progress.

He was addressing the debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee in the Constitutional Assembly. During his address, Sampanthan said: "There will be power sharing at three levels, national, provincial and local levels. The powers related to these three levels must be unambiguously and clearly defined on a rational basis. Constitutional provisions will ensure the devolved power is not undermined or taken back. This ensures that the sharing of power is durable and also genuine.

It is unfortunate that the former President and his allies are taking diametrically different and contradictory stand to what they said earlier.

Past three Presidents Mahinda Rakapaksa, Chandrika Kumaratunga and R Premadasa and governments had come up with proposals for sharing power that went far beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. President Maithripala Sirisena was continuing those endeavours from where those had been stopped.

As stated in the contents of Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact of 1957, Dudley-Chelvanayagam pact in 1965 and Indo-Lanka agreement signed by President JR Jayewardene and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987, they were prepared to deal with issues and they had the knowledge and capacity in the country’s interest to do what was required.

It is more than eight years since the war came to an end but the causes for the commencement of the war have not yet been addressed. It would be a tragedy not to realise that the war commenced due to the non-resolution of the national question, and that the national question yet remains unsolved.

It is well known that our National Issue has become internationalized, because of the blunders we have committed and because we have not been able to amicably resolve the national question ourselves. We should realize that we are being watched by the whole world. We have been cooperating with the present Government because we want the problems to be solved domestically, but remember if you do not do that the international pressure will only get worse.

You received the support of all main countries to defeat the LTTE, including India, UK, US Canada, EU and Australia. The LTTE was banned in all those countries. You assured the world that there would be an acceptable resolution of the national question after the defeat of the LTTE. Can you abandon the said assurances and commitments made to the world? The international pressure the country faced especially since 2012 was due to the failure of the Government to address the national question. Things can only get worse; they cannot get any better, if the same situation continues.

The TNA had never been demanding separatism and that they would appeal to the Tamil speaking people not to lend their support to any political movement that advocated divisions of the country. We want the people of this country to oppose any candidate who espouses separatism.

Tamil people of the North-East have been absolutely clear in regard to the manner and mode of power-sharing particularly in the North East. Violence was unleashed against the Tamil people whenever they made legitimate political demands.

The TNA is committed to the democratic verdict of the people. We are willing to work towards reasonable and acceptable consensus on all issues. We appeal to all irrespective of party or other affiliations to join in this national endeavour.

As a Sri Lankan I plead everyone to be truthful to the country and the people. It is naive to think that everybody can be deceived all the time. It is the people who must make the final decision in the exercise of their sovereignty."

Vanakkam23

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