TNA Delegation Apprises Swaraj on Situation in Lanka

A delegation of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the ruling party in Jaffna province of Sri Lanka, today gave a "detailed" presentation on the current political situation in Lanka to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and sought greater role by India in resolving the ethnic Tamil problem there.

The six-member TNA Parliamentary delegation, headed by senior Tamil leader R Sampanthan, called on the minister, who assured that India was for a political solution that "addresses substantially the aspirations of Tamil community in Sri Lanka for equality, dignity, justice and self-respect within the framework of United Sri Lanka".

Giving the details of the meeting, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said the delegation gave a presentation in fairly detailed manned on what they perceive as current situation in Sri Lanka in terms of political environment and their engagement or otherwise with the Sri Lanka government.

The Spokesperson said the meeting was part of India's efforts to engage with the government of Sri Lanka as well as all political parties there regarding the on-going reconciliation process.

The TNA delegation will call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow.

During their meeting with Swaraj, the India-assisted developmental projects including housing were also discussed.

Talking to reporters after their meeting with the minister, Sampanthan said,"India's involvement in the resolution of the Sri Lankan Tamil issue is vital...They (people who live in Sri Lanka) have their roots in India. Their culture is Indian and everything is Indian. So, I think India is one country that can play a major role."

Accusing the Sri Lankan Government of not being interested in any political solution, Sampanthan said steps have "not been taken to implement the 13th amendment for devolving powers to the Tamil minority".

"We have also talked about various other matters that are of concern of Tamil people and requested that some action can be taken by India. India should be pro-active in dealing with these questions," the Tamil leader said.

Meanwhile, the TNA delegation led by Sampanthan also met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the evening to discuss the state of negotiations between the TNA and Sri Lankan Government and to find a lasting political solution to the problems of the Lankan Tamils.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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