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Sirisena committed to reform, says devolution key to peace with Tamils

Sirisena committed to reform, says devolution key to peace with Tamils
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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday made a passionate appeal for reconciliation, asserting that he was committed to the current process of constitutional reforms to devolve powers to address the concerns of minority Tamils.

Recalling several instances when attempts to achieve political reconciliation was thwarted since independence from Britain in 1948, Sirisena, while addressing the parliament, said he was committed to the current process of constitutional reform to devolve powers to address the concerns of minority Tamils.

“Some even joke and laugh about our attempt to reform constitution,” he said.

Recalling the political opposition faced by the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord in 1987 when India intervened in Sri Lanka to create the provincial council system as a solution, Sirisena said “over 100,000 Sri Lankans are still living in refugee camps in India due to the conflict, which is a slur on the country and the government”. He said through the military victory over the LTTE, the guns may have been silenced but the concept of separation was yet to be defeated.

He accused former president Mahinda Rajapaksa of trying to sabotage the current constitutional reform process for petty political gains. “They claim that we are trying to separate the country through the new constitution,” Sirisena said. Rajapaksa in 2009 had assured that he would go beyond the India-brokered 13th amendment to grant 13-plus to the minority Tamils as a solution. 
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