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Sunday, 19 February 2012

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Minister Vitharana refutes TNA claims :

PSC talks will conclude in six months

Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitharana who refuted TNA claims that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on power devolution was a delaying tactic of the Government said that the PSC has been mandated to conclude its deliberations within six months.

A report would be submitted by then recommending constitutional amendments to further strengthen unity and communal amity in the country, he said. Prof. Vitharana who chaired the previous All Party Representative Committee (APRC) said that he considered the PSC a suitable continuation of the deliberation process on power devolution and the TNA should join the talks without laying down any pre-conditions. All political parties, including the TNA, should take part in the discussions in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation to reach a consensus on the contentious issues considering larger national interests, he said.

Mutual respect and understanding at the talks is a sure way to refute and nullify the hostile criticism against the Government and the leadership levelled by sections of the international community, he said.

Seeking foreign intervention is totally unwarranted and would obstruct the talks and, therefore, the TNA or any other party should desist from such an approach, he said. Nothing short of talks would help in resolving internal issues, he said.

The APRC, during the course of its 130 sittings over three years, had unanimously decided not to encourage demands for devolution units on ethnic-based sub-provincial levels since it would divide the country on communal lines. Instead, it was decided to consider national community councils on the lines of the Belgium model to address grievances and the special needs of ethnic groups concentrated in the central hill country and the Eastern province, he said. He considered the LLRC report as a very good report and its proper implementation would help allay criticisms against the Government.

The criticisms are based mostly on the highly biassed Darusman Report, he said.

Seeking foreign intervention is totally unwarranted and would obstruct the talks and, therefore, the TNA or any other party should desist from such an approach, he said. Nothing short of talks would help in resolving internal issues, he said.

The APRC, during the course of its 130 sittings over three years, had unanimously decided not to encourage demands for devolution units on ethnic-based sub-provincial levels since it would divide the country on communal lines. Instead, it was decided to consider national community councils on the lines of the Belgium model to address grievances and the special needs of ethnic groups concentrated in the central hill country and the Eastern province, he said.

He considered the LLRC report as a very good report and its proper implementation would help allay criticisms against the Government. The criticisms are based mostly on the highly biassed Darusman Report, he said.  

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