Sri Lanka building consensus on Tamil issue: PM

Sri Lanka will set up a parliamentary select committee to find an early solution to the Tamil issue.

Colombo: Sri Lanka has stepped up efforts to build national consensus and will set up a parliamentary select committee to find an early solution to the Tamil issue, Prime Minister DM Jayaratne has told senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

Joshi who had called on Jayaratne during the weekend had asked him to find a political solution for a speedy reconciliation with the Tamils.

Jayaratne explained to Joshi about the steps taken by his government to set up a parliamentary select committee to look at a solution to end the impasse in the north.

Sri Lanka plans to achieve national consensus on the ethnic issue with the Tamil minority through a broader consultation process, Prime Minister`s office said here today.

Joshi was here to attend the Anagarika Dharmpala memorial ceremony.

The BJP leader who met the main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was keenly following the progress of its talks with the government, TNA sources said.

Joshi was also advocating the same position as the Indian central government of looking for a solution leading to a united Sri Lanka under one constitution, TNA sources said.

The TNA was hoping for some credible visible action from the government towards a political solution in the immediate future.

The TNA and the government resumed their direct talks this week after the main Tamil party in early August walked out of the talks in protest of government`s slower response to make talks meaningful. Joshi told the TNA that India was keen to see an early resolution of the conflict in the island, he told his interlocutors in Colombo.

"The principle of democracy of accepting every citizen as equal has to be kept in mind, and all sections of society including those in the northern parts should be made to feel Sri Lankans and equals.”

“We in India desire and hope that Sri Lanka would remain united, free from violence working under a constitution and becoming a strong seat for preserving peace in this region," Joshi told the Indian journalists based here.