TNA to brief Clinton on talks with Govt.

By Chris Kamalendran

A four-member Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation led by parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan will leave for Washington on October 25 following an invitation from the US government.
The visit comes at a time when the talks between the government and the TNA remain stalled.

TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran, a member of the TNA delegation to Washington, said they would meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Assistant Secretary of State Robert O Blake, among others and brief them on the status of the TNA’s talks with the government.

He pointed out that this was the first time that the US government had invited a Tamil political delegation from Sri Lanka for talks.

The TNA delegation, which also includes Mavai Senathirajah and M. Sumanthiran, will visit Canada and Britain before they return to Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the dialogue with the government, Mr. Premachandran said the talks were to be resumed on October 3 but were postponed because the ministers were busy doing election work.
The MP said the TNA had asked the government to set aside three days for talks but the party had not received a response yet. “We are disappointed that the talks are getting delayed,” Mr. Premachandran said.

However, Sajin Vass Gunawardena, a member of the government delegation, said the talks were delayed because several of the government and TNA members had gone out of Sri Lanka – a claim disputed by Mr. Premachandran.

Mr. Gunawardena said a new date would be fixed for talks as soon as the TNA delegation returned from the US. Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this week said the government would go ahead with the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee to find a solution to the national question.

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