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Devolution Will Create Lasting Peace in Lanka: Krishna

[Outlook, Thursday, 25 November 2010 18:14 No Comment]

India today said a "meaningful" devolution package aimed at the minority Tamil community will help creating lasting peace in Sri Lanka and hoped that discussions on that would begin soon.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who arrived here on a four-day official visit, said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has gone on record to say that his government was committed to devolving power to all regions including areas dominated by Tamils.

"The end of the armed conflict holds out hope that an era of reconciliation and meaningful devolution package will begin in Sri Lanka," Krishna told reporters here.

"The meaningful devolution package will help create lasting peace. I would like that this provides an unprecedented opportunity to India and Sri Lanka to take things forward and my visit will set the momentum in that direction," he said ahead of his meetings with Sri Lankan leadership tomorrow.

In reply to a question, Krishna said during Rajapaksa’s discussion with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June this year, the president had said the devolution issue was discussed.

"He (Rajapaksa) is on record to have said that he will certainly implement the devolution package for the minorities," Krishna said.

He also said that Sri Lanka has assured India that the remaining IDPs will be resettled by the end of this year.

"At one point of time it (the number of displaced civilians) was around 3 lakhs and over a period of time it has come down and now our assessment is there are about 17,000-20,000 IDPs in the camps," Krishna said.

He said India and Sri Lanka could enhance bilateral cooperation in areas like economy, connectivity, tourism and knowledge industry.

"We hope to intensify our trade and investments as we recover from the global recession," he said.

The minister said the two new consulates – Jaffna in the North and Hambantota in Southern Sri Lanka – would serve to promote "our people-to-people links".

Krishna, who will co-chair the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission along with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Pieris, said the meeting would ensure that the decisions taken during high-level visits are closely monitored and implemented.

[Full Coverage]

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