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Lanka committed to devolution of powers to Tamil areas

[PTI, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 13:50 No Comment]

(PTI) Sri Lanka today assured India that it was committed to pursuing the 13th Amendment plus approach that envisages devolution of powers to Tamil-dominated provinces to end the ethnic conflict, even as New Delhi hoped for an "expeditious" and "constructive" approach to the dialogue between the government and Tamil National Alliance.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the assurance to visiting External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during a 90-minute breakfast meeting during which they reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties and the progress in the relief and rehabilitation of war-displaced Tamil civilians.

Sources told PTI that Krishna told Rajapaksa that political settlement of Tamils and a solution that answers the genuine aspirations of the Tamil community was the "most important" before the country. "I discussed this matter with His Excellency the President this morning. The President assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursuing the 13th Amendment plus approach," Krishna told a joint media interaction after a one-on-one with his counterpart G L Peiris and delegation-level talks.

The 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution envisages devolution of powers to the Tamil-dominated Northern Province, which India feels will meet the "genuine aspirations" of the ethnic Tamils. Asked whether the President gave any time-frame for the implementation, the Indian Minister said the particular aspect was not discussed as it would not be "desirable for him to either suggest or to ask him a time-frame" for resolution of an issue with such complexities.

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