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Sri Lankan president invites Buddhist clergy to discuss constitutional reform

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena announced that he would be holding a series of conferences on constitutional reform in order to “prevent incorrect information” regarding a proposed new constitution.

Speaking in Colombo on Monday, Mr Sirisena said he would be inviting senior Buddhist monks, alongside other religious leaders to take part in a conference to duscuss issues around the new constitution.

“I invite the venerable Maha Sangha, other religious leaders, scholars and intellectuals to sit around one table and discuss about this matter”, he said.

He also announced two further conferences, one with political parties and another with “scholars and intellectuals”.

“At these conferences the issues pertaining to the proposed new constitution can be discussed and unnecessary clauses could be removed and new clauses could be included, if required”, he further added.

Mr Sirisena, a devout Buddhist, had also addressed of the 14th annual summit of World’s Young Buddhist Sangha Sabha earlier in the day. During his speech at the event, he stated that “when seeking for solutions for the religious, social and political issues the guidance from religions is important”.

The Buddhist clergy joined other Sinhala political groups and the Sri Lankan Bar Association in criticising the process of formulating a new constitution, arguing that it will pave the way for federalism.

Last week, Sri Lanka's former commander of the security forces in Vanni, retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne said those supporting the new constitution were "traitors" and "must be killed",