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Govt. keen on TNA talks but PSC to remain

Sep 15, 2011 5:33:06 PM - www.ft.lk

Keeps mum on paramilitary issues

The Government yesterday welcomed renewed talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) but insisted that it would continue with the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

Acting Cabinet Spokesman Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told media that they were happy about the TNA’s decision to return to talks but insisted that it would in no way deter the PSC from being established.
Even though the PSC was gazette by the president nearly a month ago no progress has been made. The first step is for political parties to appoint a representative and this has not happened up to date. Abeywardana admitted that there was a vacuum of action but attributed it to the negative publicity that the PSC received.
“From the first moment that the PSC was announced people criticised it and that killed any interest in bringing it together quickly. Nonetheless we are determined to continue with the PSC so that it can be a discussion platform for parties that are not involved in the talks between the government and the TNA.”
These developments come after US Assistant Secretary for Central and South Asia Robert O. Blake expressing his satisfaction at the resumption of talks between the government and the TNA. He also called for the establishment of a Tamil police, and swift resolving of the “grease devils” issue.  
However regarding the presence of paramilitary groups in the north, specifically the EPDP the Deputy Minister refused to comment, in fact a smile was all that the media received in reply to the comment. (UJ)

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