President’s meeting with TNA postponed again over protests
COLOMBO – A meeting between Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the main minority Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), rescheduled for Tuesday (15) was once again postponed for March 25 due to a protest by main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).
The meeting between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the TNA, has been repeatedly rescheduled by the President’s office since mid-2021, citing various reasons.
Tuesday’s meeting was scheduled after India, early this month in Geneva, urged Sri Lanka to take “necessary steps” to address the “legitimate aspirations” of the Tamil community.
‘’We were told that the next meeting would be held on March 25. We have less faith for that date too,” said Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, a TNA legislator.
The TNA has been asking for a meeting with Rajapaksa since he was elected to power. The presidential office initially gave an appointment in July 2021, but was meeting was postponed repeatedly, until the Tuesday appointment, which was also postponed.
‘’We were expecting a cancellation since the day we got this date. We in fact informed during the Parliament session that there would be protest, but we were specifically told special arrangements would be made for the meeting,’’ Rasamanickam said.
The meeting was expected to focus on outstanding issues including alleged land grabbing in the North.
“As the TNA, we hope to discuss the long outstanding matter of a political solution, which is our party’s main concern. It will mainly be about devolution of power and power-sharing.”