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Ranil claims 'we are all Sri Lankans' amidst devolution pledges

Updated 1130 GMT

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, told a gathering in Batticaloa that his United National Party (UNP) was determined to devolve powers to provinces, whilst claiming that the armed conflict on the island came as people had forgotten their “Sri Lankan identity”.

Wickremesinghe claimed that his party would honour a long-promised pledge of devolving powers to the provinces, according to Colombo Gazette. He said that the proposal to devolve powers will be drafted by considering other failed proposals throughout Sri Lanka’s history made by former Presidents Ranasinghe Premadasa, Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa. His latest election pledge comes though talks over a new constitution - a key promise of the current government - have stalled almost entirely.

Previous attempts to introduce federalism and devolution of powers to Tamil regions were fiercely resisted by the Buddhist clergy and politicians from the South.

He went on to state that the "25 year war resulted since we forgot the Sri Lankan identity”. “We are all Sri Lankans,” he continued “We need to move forward together the journey we started on January 8, 2015.”

See more from Colombo Gazette here and Colombo Page here.