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Sri Lankan govt to hold crucial talks for political solution to Tamil ethnic row

Sunday, 9 January 2011 - 7:24pm IST | Place: COLOMBO | Agency: PTI
The government will hold a crucial round of talks with Tamil National Alliance, a major Sri Lankan party representing the Tamil community in the country, in a bid to find a political solution to the grievances of the minority ethnic group.

The government will hold a crucial round of talks with Tamil National Alliance, a major Sri Lankan party representing the Tamil community in the country, in a bid to find a political solution to the grievances of the minority ethnic group.

The first meeting between the special committees of the government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to explore ways and means to find a solution to the grievances of the people living in the North and the East will be held tomorrow, TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandran said.

He said tomorrow’s meeting between the high-level committees of the government and the TNA would be significant as it will be the first meeting for the year.

"The special committees comprising representatives from the Government and the Tamil National Alliance were set up following a discussion between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the TNA in June last year," Premachandran was quoted as saying by the Sunday Observer today.

"We are looking forward to lay a strong foundation for future talks and to work out the modalities to arrive at a solution for the Tamil question," Premachandran said.

He said the TNA held one-on-one talks between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader R. Sampanthan on two occasions and there were a few meetings with the Government and the TNA last year.

He said the issues with regard to the political settlement and the resettlement and reconstruction process in the North and the East were taken up during the talks last year.

The pro-Tamil party held a key meeting yesterday in Vavuniya to discuss its strategies for the talks. It also decided to contest all local elections in March, the report said.

The government committee will included minister of external affairs Prof GL Peiris, minister of good governance and infrastructure Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, minister of irrigation and water management Nimal Siripala de Silva.

From the TNA, pary leader R Sampanthan Mavai Senathiraja MP, Suresh Premachandran MP, M Sumanthiran MP, Selvam Adaikalanathan MP and Kanaga Easwaran PC, will engage the government in the talks, the report said.

The LTTE waged a bloody three-decade civil war for a separate state for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, alleging discrimination against the minority community at the hands of the majority Sinhalas.

The Lankan military crushed the rebels in May 2009 and ended the ethnic conflict that killed between 80,000 and 100,000 people.

India has asked the Lankan leadership to engage the Tamil conmmunity to find a political solution to the grievances of the minority ethnic group.

India has also pressed Sri Lanka to step up measures to rehabilitate the nearly three lakh Tamil civilians displaced from the conflict-ridden areas during the civil war.

The issue of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has been a key issue of discussion between the top leadership of the two nations.

Indian government had made a commitment to construct 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka for rehabilitation of the IDPs in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka.


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