Sri Lanka: Main Tamil party gives govt a two week deadline

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Mahinda Rajapaksa
Colombo, Aug 6: In a significant development in Sri Lanka, the country's main Tamil Party, on Aug 5, threatened to withdraw from the reconciliation talks if the government does not respond to proposals on devolution of power. They have given the government a time of two weeks to respond to the proposal which formed the core issue that led to almost thirty years of civil war.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has accused Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government of carrying out a "deceitful process" in talks which have reached their tenth round.

In a statement, the TNA said, "While attempting to show the world that the government was engaged in a political process as an integral part of reconciliation, what the government was really engaged in was no more than a mere facade."

The government in turn accused the TNA of trying to force its demands without much negotiation. It also went ahead to appoint a committee to handle the talks in parliament.

Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, a senior presidential ally involved in the talks, said in a statement, "We do not think that the ultimatum delivered to the government by the TNA, which is tantamount to the attitude portrayed by the LTTE, is at all helpful or constructive."

Referring to the two-week deadline that the TNA has given, De Silva said, "It is certainly not possible, nor is it consistent with the national interest, to make a final pronouncement on all these crucial issues hastily and without wider consultation."

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