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‘We ask for power to be shared to North-East' – TNA leader

The leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan called for power to be shared to the North-East in order to reach a solution to the island’s enduring ethnic conflict.

Speaking to the Sinhala language daily newspaper Divaina, in a piece headlined ‘We ask for the Tamil kingdom that the British handed over to the Sinhalese’ , Mr Sampanthan detailed the history of the Tamils in the North-East. “There was a separate kingdom in the North,” said the TNA leader. “The Sinhala people should know the truth. Sinhala leaders should tell the Sinhala people the truth.”

Calling for the devolution of power, Mr Sampanthan said:

“We all have to come together and share power... It is good for the country and also its people. The Tamil people mostly lived in the North and East. We ask power to be shared to that region.”

He also spoke about his recent trip to Scotland, where he and other TNA members attended a constitutional workshop. “A lot of things have happened in Scotland,” he said. “A referendum was held in 2014. It [the referendum] was to decide if Scotland was to be part of the United Kingdom or not.”

“We gained awareness about it,” added the TNA leader. “It [having awareness] is good.”

Mr Sampanthan also emphasised his support to implement a UN Human Rights Council resolution on an accountability mechanism in full, which included the participation of international judges. The topic filled “most” of his discussion with UN human rights chief Zeid Al Hussein recently, he said, adding “we discussed the need to fulfil completely the matters agreed to in that resolution”.

“We feel it is best to completely fulfil the resolution,” he continued, stating that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena “has to make a decision regarding this”.

“We expect that he will make a good decision,” he said, however noted that if the president were to reject international judges his party would have to “think about it”.

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