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Lanka reaches consensus to implement 13A: Wickremesinghe

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said political parties have agreed to implement the thirteenth amendment as a solution to end the country's over three-decade-old ethnic conflict involving the Tamil minority.

"All parties have agreed to solve the ethnic problem within the framework of the thirteenth amendment. We are continuing our talks," Wickremesinghe said while addressing a gathering at Deniyaya in the south.

He further said that all provincial councils will have equal powers now that the Tamil National Alliance has said that they are for a solution within an undivided

Provincial Councils became part of the Sri Lankan statute as a direct result of the landmark 1987 Indo-accord, popularly known as the Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord, after its architects - Indian Prime Minister and Lankan President J R Jayewardene.

He also blamed the former President for failing to resolve the thorny issues concerning the Tamil minority despite having ended the two-and-a-half decade-old civil war with the LTTE in 2009.

On the UN's human rights investigation on Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe said it was the result of Rajapaksa's mishandling of the issue.

"They (the Rajapaksa government) agreed with the UN Secretary General to have an investigation after the war ended. Later confirmed it at the UN Human Rights Council. But the investigation did not happen, so came the appointment of an investigation panel," Wickremesinghe said, referring to the March 2014 UNHRC resolution on

Rajapaksa government had resisted to cooperate with the investigation meant to probe the human rights abuses by both the LTTE and the government during the final days of the battle in May 2009.

Wickremesinghe said the new government's policy on the investigation is that all criminal charges will be probed through a local mechanism.

"Only Sri Lankan courts will have jurisdiction for criminal investigations," Wickremesinghe said.

The new Maithripala Sirisena government which succeeded Rajapaksa rule was urged by a section of the international community to cooperate with the UNHRC investigation and resolve the issues concerning the country's minorities.

First Published: Sat, January 24 2015. 18:50 IST