The outgoing United States Ambassador, Atul Keshap paid a courtesy call on the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance, R Sampanthan on Thursday (5) at the office of the Leader of the Opposition, in Colombo.
Expressing his views on the current state of affairs Sampanthan pointed out that the Government is yet to accomplish most of its commitments to the international community.
Highlighting the commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government in the cosponsored Resolution adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015, Sampanthan said: “the Office of the Missing Persons was established after a long delay, the Reparations Bill is not yet passed, no steps have been taken to address the Accountability issues, the Commission on Truth Justice Reconciliation and non-Recurrence has not been constituted, the Constitutional process took a positive start but there seems to be a delay in taking it forward”.
Given that there had been plenty of work done around the framing of a new Constitution for over 25 years, I don’t see any justifiable reasons for delay in this. Our primary interest is in the best interest of the country, and everyone in this country will benefit from a new Constitution said Sampanthan.
The vast majority of the Tamil people want a solution within a united, undivided Sri Lanka. There are sections of people who adopt a hardline view, but the only way to silence them is to deliver on the promises Sampanthan pointed out.
We have been absolutely reasonable in our demands, he said, if the Government does not deliver the Tamil people are not going to be second-class citizens in this country.
The Ambassador pointed out that as far as the United States is concerned that the UNHRC Resolution remains operative and it is fundamental for several bilateral relationships.
He said the objectives of the country should remain positive in order to achieve peace and reconciliation. The positive image that the Government of Sri Lanka has in the international stage should not be taken for granted. He highlighted that Sri Lanka will be able to attract more investors and have more economic benefits if it adopts a new Constitution.
Further, he said the United States of America will remain fully engaged with the progress made by the Sri Lankan government in the future. He thanked Sampanthan for his support during his tenure as the Ambassador.
Sampanthan appreciated the role played by the Ambassador and his team and the US State Department with regard to Sri Lanka and appealed that the same level of engagement should continue with all parties in the future.
TNA Spokesman and Jaffna District parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran was also present at the meeting while the Ambassador was accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission, Robert Hilton and Ms Joanna Pritchett, the Political Officer.