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Sri Lanka forms devolution panel

The move to solve ethnic crisis comes after Indian Foreign Secy Saran's visit to Lanka, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 13:01 IST

The Sri Lankan government has appointed a political panel comprising representatives of all the three major communities in the island to draft a devolution package to solve the ethnic question.

Government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwela told newsmen here on Wednesday, that the panel, comprising representatives of the Sinhalas, Tamils and Muslims, would be having its first meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa next Tuesday.

"The main task of the committee will be to examine the mechanism of power devolution and advice us on how to go about it," Rambukwela said.

This is seen by political circles here as a direct fallout of the visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran.

In his meeting with President Rajapaksa on Monday, Saran had urged him to move on the political front and work out a structure of power sharing with the North Eastern Tamils of the island.

This was the only way to solve the Tamil problem, and not war, Saran said, communicating the view of the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

Earlier, the President had held two All Party Conferences and had proposed the appointment of two committees to work out a consensus on a devolution package.

The first was to be a political committee comprising members of    the major political parties, and the second was to be an experts committee, mostly of lawyers, to advice the political committee on the intricacies of constitution making.

Rajapaksa announced the constitution of the expert committee with eminent lawyer HL de Silva as its head, but he did not announce the political committee.