Rajapaske meets Tamil leaders ahead of India visit

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaske held his first meeting with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) ahead of his three-day visit to India and told them that Tamils and Sinhalese can both work together.

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaske held his first meeting with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) ahead of his three-day visit to India and told them that Tamils and Sinhalese can both work together.

Rajapaske is due in India from today and he is likely to be asked how his government is reaching out to the ethnic Tamil minority.

Rajapaske`s last meeting with TNA members took place some nine months ago, and now the latter is reported to have scaled down its demands.

Instead of a separate state, the TNA is asking for federalism and the joining of the two provinces in which Tamils are a majority.

Rajapakse has already ruled that out completely.

Nevertheless, the leader of the TNA delegation, R Sampanthan, told the BBC that the president and his eight senior colleagues - all of them Sinhalese - listened "very patiently" to their concerns in a cordial atmosphere, and that the meetings would continue. (ANI)

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