Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa Friday vowed to press ahead with a political
power-sharing plan to address grievances of minority Tamils,
nearly two years after the security forces crushed the LTTE.
The government was keen to have a permanent political
solution to the island nation`s vexed ethnic issue, Rajapaksa
told a breakfast meeting with Colombo-based foreign
correspondents at his Temple Trees residence.
"I am ready to share power at the centre. It is better to
share at the centre than at the periphery," he said, adding
that he has already asked opposition Tamil parties to come up
with a common negotiating position.
Rajapaksa said he was committed to the 13th amendment to
the Constitution on devolution of powers, which was brought
about as a result of the July 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka peace
"I am ready to grant 13 plus," he said, referring to an
offer to improve on the devolution plan, but said he was not
willing to consider granting police powers to regions.
Rajapaksa said he wanted Tamils to have a greater
representation at the national Parliament as well as in a
proposed second chamber, which could be modelled on an upper
house of Parliament or Senate.
He said he did not want to force a solution on the
Tamils, but preferred democratic Tamil parties to come up with
a negotiating position.
He said he was also ready to address the concerns of the
majority Sinhalese community that there would be no division
of the country on ethnic lines, only greater sharing of power.