Colombo: Seeking a "quick" solution to
Sri Lanka`s drawn out ethnic conflict, India on Saturday pressed the
Mahinda Rajapaksa government to come to a "political
arrangement" with the minority Tamils.
"The quicker the Sri Lankan government can come to a
political arrangement (with Tamils) the better," National
Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said after his talks with
President Rajapaksa along with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar.
Sri Lanka had already pledged to improve on the 13th
amendment, the 1987 constitutional provision which seeks to
grant regional autonomy, as a political solution, Menon said,
addressing Colombo-based Indian reporters.
The controversial 1987 amendment was a result of the
Indo-Lanka peace accord which sought, but failed to end Tamil
separatism in the island.
Menon maintained that Sri Lanka has already pledged to
improve on the constitutional amendment and hoped they would
Menon along with Rao and Kumar opened closed-door
talks with Foreign Minister G L Peiris soon after arriving in
Colombo on Friday and had a breakfast meet with Rajapaksa this
After spending about two hours with Rajapaksa, they
also met with Tamil political leaders before leaving the
island. The visit took place against the backdrop of the Tamil
Nadu Assembly passing a resolution demanding imposition of
economic sanctions against Colombo.
Menon said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa`s
recent remarks did not figure in their talks.
"The Sri Lankan government has said that they will
directly deal with the centre," Menon said playing down the
He had met with the Chief Minister just before
arriving in Sri Lanka.
During their visit, the Indian officials also met Sri
Lanka`s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and President`s
Secretary Lalith Weeratunga.
Menon said they discussed the issue of fishermen of
both countries straying into each others` territory and noted
that fishermen`s associations were in contact with each other
to resolve differences.
He said did not touch on the human rights issues
raised by India last month when Peiris had visited New Delhi.
New Delhi had called for "genuine reconciliation" and
urged Sri Lanka to investigate alleged human rights abuses, a
demand made by the West as well as the United nations.
Earlier, Bandula Jayasekera, the Sri Lankan
presidential spokesman, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
has accepted Rajapaksa`s invitation to visit Sri Lanka.
Menon handed over a letter of acceptance of
Rajapaksa`a offer by Prime Minister Singh, he said.