Govt to hold crucial talks with Sri Lankan Tamils on May 23

The government will hold a crucial round of talks with the main Tamil party TNA on May 23 in a bid to find a political settlement to the grievances of the minority ethnic community in Sri Lanka, a media report has said.

Last Updated: May 15, 2011, 21:16 PM IST

Colombo: The government will hold a
crucial round of talks with the main Tamil party TNA on May
23 in a bid to find a political settlement to the grievances
of the minority ethnic community in Sri Lanka, a media report
has said.

The talks have entered a crucial stage. The government
has discussed setting up of a second chamber or a senate in
the legislature at the talks held on Thursday with the Tamil
National Alliance (TNA), the ColomboPage online reported,
citing unnamed government sources.

It said the next round of talks will take place on May
23 to discuss devolution of powers in a bid to address the
political aspiration of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
The local Daily Mirror reported that the TNA has
dismissed the government`s proposal to set up a senate as a
substitute for a "power devolution arrangement".

According to the report in the Lankan newspaper, the
government handed over a note outlining its plan to establish
a senate under the constitution at Thursday’s meeting.

The government has laid out two options for the
establishment of the senate.

Under the first option, the provincial councils are
expected to elect 75 members -three members from 25 districts
each. Besides, the President shall nominate 15 members, the
report said.

The TNA and government started talks in January, with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa opting to appoint a high-powered
ministerial committee to discuss the grievances of the Tamil
community in Lanka.

The TNA wants to press ahead for a political solution
to address the grievances of the Tamils.

The former LTTE-proxy party has been demanding quick
resolution of the problems facing the internally displaced
community, resettlement and expeditious settlement of legal
process against the former members of the LTTE.

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.

PTI