R Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that although the worldwide Tamil diaspora could contribute economically to alleviate the crisis in Sri Lanka, they would not do so unless the ethnic issue on the island is resolved once and for all.
Speaking to Sooriyan FM, Sampanthan said that the main reason for the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka was the absence of a permanent solution to the Tamil national question. The lack of this led to an armed struggle, he continued, adding that the government had to spend a huge amount of money to wage a war on Tamils for 30 years.
Similarly, due to corruption, bribery and non-fulfillment of promises made to the international community, many states around the world still view Sri Lanka with suspicion, he said.
Sampanthan went on to state that the only remedy to the current problem in the country is providing a definite solution with a fair, permanent and durable devolution of power to the Tamil-speaking people. No one has the power to deny the birthright of the Tamil people and they are entitled to demand self-determination, he added, urging Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders to work together and find a solution to the ethnic problem.
Diaspora Tamils can make a difference, the veteran TNA leader continued, but noted that they must first trust the rulers of the country and that they expect a just solution to the ethnic problem. This national issue has remained unresolved for 79 years, he added. Without this happening the diaspora will not be wasting their money.
Speaking on the ongoing anti-government protests in the South, Sampanthan said that they carried a lesson for politicians on the island. The struggle is against corruption, in which the Tamil people must participate and fight together, he added, claiming that there is also a change taking place among the Sinhalese people.
Though Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa pledged to form an expert committee to formulate a new political system for the island when he met with the TNA on March 18, the TNA leader said he was doubtful that any such proposal would be produced.
Instead he called on protestors at Galle Face and other parts of the island to go beyond party differences and find a solution to the ethnic issue. For this to be realized and the country to be built, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims must unite together, he added.
He also added that the TNA is undertaking efforts to negotiate with the government and the international community, including India, with regards to a solution to the Tamil national question.
A solution would be coming soon, he added.