A Tamil party has rejected an offer made by the president to negotiate a settlement to their national issue within a unitary Sri Lanka.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe extended the invitation in a speech at the May Day rally of the UNP.
However, Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) MP Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam insisted only a federal solution that recognizes the Tamil nation, their sovereignty and right to self-determination was acceptable to them.
India and other friendly countries should urge the Sri Lankan government to go for such a solution, he said in a May Day message.
Wickremesinghe revealed his intention to address the ethnic problem while implementing the agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
He noted that discussions are currently underway and that he hopes to reach a mutually agreeable solution by the end of this year.
The president emphasized the importance of moving forward while respecting and protecting the rights of all communities including the majority Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, and Burgher minorities without marginalizing anyone.
Early this year, president Wickremesinghe initiated a discussion with the TNA with a promise to resolve the issue before May Day, but the talks ended without any progress.
For his part, Ponnambalam asked the state authorities to declare the north and the east a war-affected zone and formulate a special financial programme to rebuild the economy.
The TNPF staged its May Day rally near the Sivan Kovil at Mallavi in Mullaitivu following a parade, where it highlighted its demands.
Meanwhile, the ITAK held its May Day rally in Kilonochchi.
The party called for independence for the north and the east, freedom for Tamil political prisoners, justice for victims of enforced disappearances, a halt to the invasion of their land and against the proposed anti-terrorism act.
Tamil parties in the upcountry focused on the issues of the plantation Tamils during their May Day celebrations.