Sri Lanka assures India over devolution package (Second Lead)October 16th, 2010 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Sri Lanka Friday assured India that it was in touch with moderate Tamil political parties to evolve “a viable power-sharing arrangement” that will meet the aspirations of the minorities.
“We have to provide political space for the spontaneous emergence of moderate Tamil leadership,” Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris said here. “There have to be credible interlocutors on the other side,” he said.
He was delivering the R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture on ‘Growth, Equity and Security: Constitutional Imperatives of South Asia’.
Peiris stressed that Sri Lanka was seriously considering “a better power-sharing mechanism” at the Centre to ensure equity for all its citizens, especially the minority communities.
“We are reaching out to moderate Tamil political parties to find a solution,” Peiris said, adding that this was conveyed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when the two leaders met here Friday afternoon.
Underlining the need for security, Peiris said that the Sri Lankan people were now celebrating the emancipation from (LTTE) terror that had affected the country for more than two decades. He said the Sri Lankan government was seeking the active support and help of the diaspora for strengthening and consolidating peace and rebuilding the war-ravaged North and Eastern region.
Manmohan Singh hosted a lunch for Rajapaksa and his delegation, which included Foreign Minister Peiris and Foreign Secretary C.R. Jayasinghe, at his official residence.
The two leaders reviewed the process of resettling Tamil refugees in the island nation when they met here, with New Delhi asking Colombo to act decisively to “win over” its ethnic minority.
Rajapaksa is understood to have told Manmohan Singh about a slew of steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to resettle around 300,000 Tamil civilians displaced in the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to official sources.
Rajapaksa also sought closer Indian cooperation in various sectors like education, agriculture and commerce during the luncheon meeting.
“It was a very cordial meeting. No issue was discussed at length, but India wanted to know our plans (on resolving the ethnic crisis). We indicated that…we want to talk to a broader spectrum of stakeholders as possible,” said Peiris. “That is the only way to do this, to get their ideas and to build a consensus,” he said.
Peiris added that Rajapaksa had held two rounds of talks with the Tamil National Alliance and will soon meet its leader R.Sampanthan, who had just returned home after a visit to Chennai for medical treatment. Peiris added that less than 20,000 out of nearly 300,000 people displaced by the war remained to be resettled.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna also pressed for a viable devolution deal when he met his Sri Lankan counterpart Thursday. Krishna stressed that in his discussions with Peiris, he raised the issue of devolution of powers to Tamil-speaking minorities and offered to help in the development of the island nation.
“I did raise the issue of devolution of powers. Now that the parliamentary elections are over, it’s time for the government of Sri Lanka to act decisively and win over the Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans so that their concerns and reservations are taken care of,” he said.
“Once it’s (devolution) is done, they can embark on development agenda. India will fully assist them in this process,” said Krishna, adding that New Delhi hoped that integration will be worked out. “They (Sri Lanka) agree with this argument. They say their efforts are directed towards it.”
Peiris also discussed the visit of Krishna to Sri Lanka towards the end of this month to see for himself the progress made in rehabilitating the displaced civilians.
- Manmohan, Rajapaksa discuss Tamil refugees, devolution (Second Lead) - Oct 15, 2010
- India asks Sri Lanka to focus on devolution (Lead) - Oct 15, 2010
- Krishna heads to Lanka, hopes for solution to Tamils' problems (Lead) - Jan 15, 2012
- Manmohan, Rajapaksa to discuss Tamil issue Friday - Oct 13, 2010
- Krishna holds talks with Sri Lankan president, PM - Jan 17, 2012
- Rajapaksa assures Krishna of empowering ethnic Tamils (Second Lead) - Jan 17, 2012
- Krishna to push for political settlement of Tamil issue (Lead) - Jan 16, 2012
- Only 20,000 refugees remain, Sri Lanka tells India - Oct 15, 2010
- Rajapaksa has given firm commitment to empower Tamils: Krishna - Jan 20, 2012
- India, Sri Lanka to discuss Tamil settlement, sign pacts - Jun 08, 2010
- Colombo mulling power sharing with Tamils: Peiris - May 17, 2011
- Menon, Rao heading to Colombo for weekend talks - Jun 09, 2011
- Amid Tamil Nadu unrest, Manmohan to meet Rajapaksa - Sep 18, 2012
- Krishna heads to Sri Lanka, devolution tops agenda - Jan 15, 2012
- Krishna in Sri Lanka, to push for devolution (Lead) - Nov 25, 2010
Tags: growth equity, interlocutors, island nation, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, liberation tigers of tamil eelam ltte, mahinda rajapaksa, manmohan, manmohan singh, memorial lecture, minister peiris, political space, president mahinda rajapaksa, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, spontaneous emergence, sri lankan government, sri lankan people, sri lankan president, tamil civilians, tamil refugees