Sri Lanka's North closer to political solution, says Wickremesinghe
Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday assured the minority Tamil community in the North that they would be granted a political solution within the next two years.
"We are closer to achieving a political solution. We will provide a solution during the next two years. That will lead to a future where all Sri Lankans can live with pride," he said while speaking at an event in Jaffna.
The prime minister said that his government was not able to achieve a solution to the Tamil minority question during the past four years as his government lacked parliamentary majority it needed to complete the process.
"No one had the majority, so we struggled. But we tried hard," he said.
"My party and I are committed to reconciliation and a political solution," he stressed. "We are agreeable to give the powers which are acceptable to all communities."
Since President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe formed the coalition in 2015, an attempt was made to formulate a new Constitution to address the Tamil issue. A constitutional assembly was created and an experts panel report was issued.
However, there was no agreement among political parties for the form of devolution in the experts' panel report with political objections being raised over it. The whole constitutional reform process was stalled after a constitutional standoff between Sirisena and Wickremsinghe last year.
Wckremesinghe's comments in the Tamil heartland on Monday came as the country was heading for the next presidential election which must be held before December 8.
The Tamil minority which supported the current government in 2015, remain disgruntled that despite the large scale Tamil minority support to Sirisena in 2015, nothing had been delivered to them or not adequate efforts have been made to address their grievances.
The political unease between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe led to the latter being sacked as the prime minister only to be restored by the highest court's intervention last year.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had run a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Rajapaksa, who was the president at the time, has repeatedly said that the war was against the LTTE and not against the Tamil community.