Krishna in Colombo to discuss wide-ranging issues
Even as the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance hardened their positions on the question of devolution and autonomy to Tamils in Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrived here on Monday to hold wide-ranging talks with his counterpart, G.L. Peiris, and a host of political and civil society leaders, on political and development issues.
The four-day visit will take him from one end of the country to the other – Jaffna in the north to Galle in south – and expand the extent of cooperation with Sri Lanka. According to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, “EAM would visit Kilinochchi and Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka in connection with Government of India assisted projects and also hand over the first lot of housing units at Ariyali, Jaffna. EAM would also be visiting Galle in southern Sri Lanka where he is expected to inaugurate a segment of the Southern Railway Project implemented under a Line of Credit extended by India.”
Mr. Krishna had an informal meeting with leaders of the country on Monday, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prof. Peiris. He is slated to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa formally on Tuesday. Mr. Krishna joined Mr. Rajapaksa at his Temple Trees residence in the pongal celebrations, and witnessed a cultural show.
He also met representatives of the Tamil National Alliance, the only credible representatives of the Tamil people of the north, ahead of the TNA and the government commencing a crucial round of talks on Tuesday.
Mr. Krishna and his team will watch keenly the on-going talks between the government and the TNA, to achieve an acceptable political solution for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Despite the two sides talking for more than a year, there has been no discernible progress.