January 2, 2019 Press Statement The visiting Member of the European Parliament and of the Friends of Sri Lanka group in the European Parliament Hon Geoffrey Van Orden Met with the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance Mr. Sampanthan today in Colombo. Apprising the Honorable Member of the recent political developments in the country Mr. Sampanthan pointed out the importance of the reconstitution of the Constitutional Council through which the independence of the judiciary has been preserved which was clearly demonstrated during the recent crisis situation. Further answering a question Mr. Sampanthan expressed that “our support to reinstate the Government was on Principle. The country was in distress and there was no Prime Minister or a Government.We had to support to reinstate the Government to prevent further damage being done to the economy and for normalcy in the functioning of institutions in this Country” said Mr. Sampanthan. Briefing on the new Constitutional making process TNA Spokesman and Jaffna District Parliamentarian Mr. Sumanthiran said, the draft Constitution which was done by a panel of experts which was to be presented in Parliament in 7th of December 2018, will be presented before 4th of February 2019. Mr. Sampanthan pointed out that the new Constitution must ensure that the Country is undivided and indivisible, further it should also ensure that there is a genuine power-sharing arrangement which allows the people and the regional / provincial governments to exercise powers in regard to the matters that are connected to their day to life. Further speaking Mr. Sampanthan said, when a New Constitution is introduced if we see it as a reasonable and acceptable one, our people will accept it. Ever since the enactment of the 13th amendment to the Constitution much work has been done to improve the constitution under every successive Leader of this Country said Mr. Sampanthan. During President Premadasa’s time, there was the Mangala Munasinghe select committee report, during President Chandrika BandaranayakaKumaratunga’s tenure the 2000 proposal, during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s time the All Party Representatives Committee and Professor Tissa Vitharana’s proposal. All these proposals were a substantial improvement to the constitution said Mr. Sampanthan. Over thirty years much work has been done and now we have the opportunity and we must grab it for the betterment of this country said Mr. Sampanthan. Further, Mr. Sampanthan said “I am being reasonably optimistic because this is my country and I want this country to prosper, therefore I cannot be pessimistic. Responding to a question in regard to the activities of Diaspora Members Mr. Sumanthiran said, the extreme elements in the diaspora are numerically very small and if there are proper power-sharing arrangements in Sri Lanka large section of the Diaspora is willing to support such process he added. Attitudes and actions of an extremist section of the Diaspora will not have any influence on our decisions said Mr. Sampanthan. Further, he said, “at every local election our people have consecutively and firmly voted out such extreme elements”. Speaking on the land issues, Mr. Sampanthan pointed out “we are against the state-sponsored settlement schemes which are done deliberately to change the ethnic composition in the regions, we are not against natural migration of people. The Tamil speaking people have an inherent interest to preserve their land and their culture said Mr. Sampanthan. Expressing his views Hon Geoffrey Van Orden said he expected more foreign support towards reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka post-2009, and that he is not happy that then-President Mahinda Rajapaksha did not pursue efforts to achieve true reconciliation in this Country. The cordial meeting lasted more than one hour.