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Sri Lanka assures India to devolve power to solve ethnic problem

(Xinhua)

08:42, January 18, 2012

COLOMBO, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka has given an assurance to India to reach a political settlement to the minority Tamils' ethnic issue by devolution of power recommended at an earlier constitution amendment, a minister said on Tuesday.

Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told media here in Colombo that President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured him of the commitment to devolving powers to ethnic Tamils by pursuing the 13th amendment to the constitution during a meeting with him on Tuesday morning.

The 1987 Indo-Lank Accord introduces the 13th Amendment seeking to devolve powers to the provinces including the northern and eastern regions of the country where Tamil-speaking minorities are concentrated and empower the ethnic Tamils to administer their lands and exercise police powers.

"The president assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursue the 13th Amendment plus approach," Krishna said.

Krishna also said that the continuation of the dialogue between the government and the political representatives of minority Tamils, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would pave the way for a political settlement.

He further said that the recently released government report on three decades long war by Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has many constructive recommendations that would help to reach a genuine national reconciliation as regards the ethnic issue in the island nation.

During the visit, Indian external affairs minister signed five agreements including 260-million- U.S.-dollar reconstruction of 49,000 houses in war-affected areas in Sri Lanka, 382-million-dollars credit facility to restore northern railway lines and water supply project amounting to 60.6 million dollars.

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