President Rajapaksa – TNA leader meet

TNA Rajapksa     Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in talks regarding problems faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka with Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan yesterday.

External Affairs minister Prof.GL Peiris and Presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga were also present at the discussion.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa held talks with TNA on holding free and fair elections in the country’s north, days after the main Tamil party skipped a key parliamentary panel meet on devolving power to provinces.

Among issues discussed were –

1.Arbitrary acquisition of Lanfds in the North and East

2.Resettlement of People in the North and East on lands and dwellings where they lived previously

3. Reduction of military personnel stationed in the North and East

4.Minimizing visible presence of the armed forces in the North and East by confinement of troops to barracks.

5.Release of all Tamil political prisoners

6.Ensuring a free and fair election in the Northern Province

The TNA leader also reiterated the party’s commitment to evolution of an acceptable, workable and durable political solution within the framework of a united undivided country, the statement added. The meeting came on a day the Commissioner of Elections commenced the process of accepting nomination papers for the much awaited elections in the former Tamil Tigers-held areas after a gap of 25 years.

The first ever election for the northern provincial council is being seen by the international community as a major reconciliation move with the island’s Tamil minority since the end of a brutal three-decade-long civil war in 2009 when government troops finally crushed LTTE rebels fighting for a separate Tamil homeland.

The nominations for the September elections will close on August 1.

The TNA-Rajapaksa talks came as the former joined opposition parties in skipping the parliamentary select committee which met earlier in the week to review the powers devolved to the provinces especially on matters related to land and police matters.

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