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‘Most Tamils accept my offer’ claims Sri Lanka’s president

In a wide-ranging interview by First Post, Sri Lanka’s president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, claimed that Tamils have accepted his "offer" on the subject of Tamil autonomy and rejected India’s statement at the UN Human Rights Council that "progress has been inadequate".

In this interview, Wickremesinghe maintained that Tamils had accepted is offer but laid blame on Tamils leadership claiming that Tamil partisan MPs are divided. 

"Tamil reconciliation is a major challenge for any Sri Lankan government, especially the question of Tamil autonomy," he was asked. "You did make an offer, but you did not give police powers and the Tamil parties rejected it. Did you not think that such an offer would be dead on arrival?"

"My offer has been accepted by most Tamils and most Tamil MPs," Wickremesinghe claimed in response. "Tamil parties are divided."

It remained unclear exactly the "offer" Wickremesinghe was speaking about, with no proposals for the devolution of power to Tamils having been made public.

He further maintained that he had made progress in terms of returning land to Tamils and would insist on a return to the "1985 map". These claims comes as there is increasing protests over the aggressive encroachment of Sinhala settlers on Tamil farmers land in Batticalo and protests over the imposition of Buddhist viharas across the North-East.

The interview noted that whilst Wickremesinghe had pledged to provide greater devolution this would not include powers over policing.

Commenting on India’s criticism of Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, Wickremesinghe rejected the assessment noting;

“I don’t agree with Indian comments. I was surprised that India criticised our record”.

He maintained that the issues were economic and detailed the divisions between rural and urban districts. He further added that there will be renewable energy established in the North.

Despite, the promises economic reform Wickremesinghe has rejected Tamil calls for an independent international investigation into the war crimes committed during the war and the issues of enforced disappearances.

Watch the full interview here.

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