President Wickremesinghe outlines his plan to develop the North and East.

President Wickremesinghe, during a meeting with the Tamil political party leaders today, expressed his genuine intention to resolve the issues faced by the Tamil people without any political motivations.

He elaborated on various bills and plans concerning the functioning of provincial councils, the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation, the Truth-Finding Mechanism, the Office of Missing Persons, and the development of the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Furthermore, the President highlighted the government’s development initiatives for the Northern and Eastern provinces, including projects focused on renewable energy, water supply, infrastructure development, investment promotion zones, and the tourism industry.

Ultimately, the President underscored that full enforcement of the 13th Amendment can only be achieved if all party leaders in Parliament agree to a comprehensive devolution of powers. The President’s proposal and discussions centred around multiple measures to address the challenges faced by the people in the North and East regions.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe reiterated his unwavering dedication to upholding justice for the people of the North and East. He emphasised that any further actions taken for their benefit must receive the full support of Parliament through discussion and consensus.

Regarding the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, President Wickremesinghe informed that extensive discussions had taken place on the proposals. While it was possible to grant all powers outlined in the proposal except for police powers, the inclusion of police powers would require the agreement of all party leaders representing Parliament. He also noted that a two-thirds majority in Parliament was necessary for such decisions.

The President discussed various bills concerning the functioning of Provincial Councils after the initial devolution of powers. These bills encompassed the appointment of Regional Secretaries, education, vocational training, higher education, agricultural innovations, industries, and tourism. President Wickremesinghe assured that these bills would be presented to Parliament.

Under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, the President emphasised the importance of legally announcing the transfer of decision-making powers on specific subjects to the central government.

Regarding reconciliation efforts, the President revealed that the draft for the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation had been referred to the Attorney General for constitutional review and would soon be presented to Parliament. Additionally, the National Action Plan on Reconciliation, drafted by the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), will be submitted to the Cabinet shortly.

In terms of the Truth-Finding Mechanism, the President mentioned that the Interim Secretariat had been established with the appointment of the Director General. Applications for key staff required to facilitate the drafting of guidelines would be invited, and formal mechanisms would commence after relevant laws were enacted.