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`Parliament the best forum to address devolution of powers`

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 16:19

Colombo: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who said the country`s Parliament is the best forum to address the issue of devolution of powers to Tamil-inhabited areas.

"Parliament is the best forum to address the issue," Rajapaksa said when Khurshid called on Rajapaksa at the President`s House.

Rajapaksa said, "The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) should engage in dialogue and come up with a solution that is in line with what the people want", according to a statement issued by the President`s office.

His comments came as Khurshid, on his first visit here after assuming office, yesterday called for "meaningful devolution" of powers to provinces, including Tamil-inhabited areas in the north.

A number of issues of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting between Khurshid and Rajapaksa with the two sides underlying objective of developing strategies to coordinate more closely towards further strengthening relations.

Commenting on the recently-concluded provincial elections in the Northern Province, Khurshid commended President Rajapaksa for holding elections after decades and said he felt it was a very important step for society, one that will likely be viewed as a great historic moment.

The two leaders also discussed the issue of fishermen, the statement said.
Scores of Indian fishermen, including 112 from Tamil Nadu alone, are currently being held in Sri Lankan prisons. Dozens of their boats too have been seized.

It was agreed that the best way forward would be to facilitate a dialogue between fishing communities of both countries so that the fishermen themselves can find solutions to their problems, the statement said.

A similar approach was also proposed for the business communities to enhance interaction where businessmen of Sri Lanka and India can better work together.

High Commissioner of India in Colombo YK Sinha accompanied Khurshid along with several other officers from the Indian External Affairs Ministry and the Indian High Commission.

First Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 16:19
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