‘Sri Lanka has best relations with India’

India Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has best relations with India and will continue to consolidate the special relationship, Sri Lanka’s ruling party said on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference in connection with the upcoming presidential polls, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said some “external forces were at work” to destabilise the country. However, India was a friend and Sri Lanka had best relations with its neighbour, he said, at a news conference held at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party headquarters.

“Look at India’s decision in Geneva in March,” he said, referring to India’s abstention from voting on the U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for an international probe into Sri Lanka’s war crimes. “The fact that India abstained shows their position towards us,” the Plantations Minister said, adding, “We will continue to consolidate the special relationship.”

On the Tamil question, Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said a solution to the Tamil question has to come from within Sri Lanka, and not from Geneva or the United States. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) needed to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee discussions if they wanted a solution, he said. “Mr. Modi also agreed with President Rajapaksa when they met in New York that such negotiations are important,” Mr. de Silva said.

Leaders of the TNA have boycotted the Parliamentary Select Committee, demanding the terms of negotiation, pointing to its composition with predominantly ruling coalition members.

Minorities’ votes are likely to be crucial in the presidential polls scheduled for January 8 in which incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest against Maithripala Sirisena, a cabinet minister in his government before he recently defected to contest as common opposition candidate.

(The Hindu)