India works out deal with President
The Government is to resume bilateral talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) simultaneously whilst the latter will agree to participate in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) in terms of a deal being brokered by India.
The broad outlines were discussed when President Mahinda Rajapaksa held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently.
A five-member TNA delegation headed by its leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan left yesterday for New Delhi at the Indian government’s invitation to be briefed on the outcome of the Rajapaksa- Singh talks. In essence, India is to stand guarantee to ensure the bilateral talks and TNA’s participation in the PSC. The twin track dialogue is to evolve a political package to address Tamil issues and is a major step in the UPFA government’s reconciliation programme.
The TNA delegation’s main talks will be with V. Narayanaswamy, Minister of State in the Indian PM’s Office, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon. They will also call on Prime Minister Singh.TNA leader Sampanthan told the Sunday Times, “The present stalemate is because the government has not kept to its promise. Although we agreed for talks in January this year, nothing materialised.” Other members of the TNA delegation are Mavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran, Selvan Adaikalanathan and M.A.Sumanthiran – all parliamentarians.
The Rajapaksa-Singh talks took place when the President visited New Delhi en route to Bhopal last month. Rajapaksa laid the foundation stone of the Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies.The Indian government ordered special security precautions during President Rajapaksa’s visit to Bhopal. Indian Air Force aircraft hovered over the skies of Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh whilst trains were banned from stopping between Bhopal and Videsha including Sanchi.
The President told the Sunday Times he was “very pleased” with all arrangements made by the Government of India for his visit. He said he was particularly touched by Premier Singh’s speech during a banquet, where he said “petty issues” should not mar the long standing relationship between Sri Lanka and India.
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