Sumanthiran admits backdoor meeting in London

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran admitted that they did not disclose to other Tamil parties and Tamil politicos about their informal meeting in London last week with Global Tamil Forum (GTF), Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and former peace envoy Erik Solheim claiming that the talks had been ‘leaked’ to the public.

When Ceylon Today asked why it wasn’t disclosed to politicians like TNA Spokesperson Suresh Premachandran nor Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, the MP said that there were many backdoor meetings held with other diaspora organisations in the past. Other TNA leaders also participated in these though they were not made public. After four rounds, two other diaspora groups insisted on expressing certain reservations and they had to abandon that project, he said.

He added that MP Premachandran knows the lengths to which he went in order to get the international inquiry resolution last year.
“Premachandran and some others initially condemned that resolution. I kept urging them in public not to do that and that there was a call for an international inquiry in that resolution. I have the news items to show how much I appealed to them not to criticize the resolution and lose it. How can the very people who tried valiantly not to have that resolution adopted in March 2014, now accuse me, who stood by that resolution and saw it through, of sabotaging it now?”, he asked.

sumethiran and surenHe said that the GTF has consistently backed the TNA’s position publicly on the basis that we are the elected represenatives of the Tamils. They were the only group who asked the Tamils to go out and vote at the Presidential Elections early this year, following TNA’s call.

When asked if the main concern of the meeting was to back the South African model of reconciliation process and whether the Tamil Diaspora and the government of Sri Lanka is willing to work on it, MP Sumanthiran stated that they have not considered the SA model for reconciliation as suitable for SL. “Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has also recently said that amnesty for disclosure will not work in SL, and that perpetrators will be prosecuted, since confession and forgiveness is not part of the SL culture.”

He also agreed that a SA model is more for a reconciliation process rather than accountability. The South African TRC made the Blacks forgive the Whites and move on and does not address the accountability issue.
On Erik Solheim’s participation in London, he revealed that it was very brief and Erik spoke on his experience with the processes earlier during his time as the special peace envoy.

In the backdrop where the Tamils have lost faith in the local mechanism and felt it strongly after the appointment of Chief of Staff Jagath Dias, how would the TNA work with the government, the MP said “If the government has lost the plot by appointing Jagath Dias, so be it. So much the better for us.”

He also added “People forget that an international investigation was conducted and the Report is now due in September! But when that Report comes out, you do need a domestic mechanism to implement the recommendations. Otherwise that Report will sit on a shelf in Geneva. The GoSL has given commitments in writing for the purpose of postponing the tabling of the Report from March to September. If they violate those commitments, they will have to face the music. ”

He also said the GTF or any other diaspora group was not banned. “They were listed under a UN Resolution on Terrorist funding. Only financial transactions with the listed organizations are prohibited. But that listing is also not legal.