Sri Lanka President and Indian Minister hold bilateral talks, power devolution the focus

Jan 17, Colombo: India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna who is on a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka met President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (17) at the President’s House and held bilateral discussions.

The visiting Minister during a 90- minute breakfast meeting with the President touched on a variety of issues that are of interest to both countries.

Although the talks were aimed at strengthening the bilateral relation between the two countries, the main focus of the talks was the political solution to the ethnic issue, presidential sources said.

India has been urging Sri Lanka to expedite the process to reach a political solution based on the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.

Krishna held discussions with the TNA representatives and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress separately on Monday. During the talks, the SLMC has stressed the need to include the Muslim community in formulating a solution.

The latest round of talks between the government and the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on power devolution are to commence today and continue on 18th and 19th as well.

However, The Island newspaper reported today that the government, angered by TNA’s highly critical over the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commissions and the call for an international investigation into the accountability issues, has suspended the talks.

The Indian Foreign Minister is scheduled to sign the agreement relating to the US$ 260 million financial assistance for the housing project and several other agreements relating to agriculture and telecommunication sectors.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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