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Indian foreign minister visits Sri Lanka

(Xinhua)

09:38, January 17, 2012

COLOMBO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna arrived in Sri Lanka Monday for a four day visit that will likely touch on many points including the question of political devolution, analysts said here.

Krishna will meet his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Pieiris for discussions on Tuesday for bilateral talks and then sign several Memorandums of Understanding on trade, investment and other sectors, a government statement said.

He is also expected to call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne during his visit.

Analysts expect the visit to touch on the question of political devolution for the Tamil people, for which the government has not managed to find a satisfactory solution despite several rounds of talks with the main Tamil political party.

Since the end of a three decade war in 2009, the Indian government has insisted that there should be a political solution to Sri Lanka's protracted ethnic issue.

However, the Sri Lankan government has raised concerns over giving land and police powers to the North and East Provinces that have majority Tamil populations.

"The visit of the Indian external affairs minister will very likely bring the question of devolution to the forefront again," said a political analyst who did not wish to be named.

A leading Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora group said Sunday that it will support discussions for a political settlement on the island if the solution alters the structure of governance in the country.

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