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Lanka devolution package before PM's visit

Lanka is likely to finalise a 'power devolution' package to end the 25-year-old ethnic conflict before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the island nation in Feb.

world Updated: Dec 09, 2007 17:13 IST

Pressed by India, Sri Lanka is likely to finalise a "power devolution" package to end the 25-year-old ethnic conflict before the planned visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the island nation in February, a media report said here today.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to announce the full implementation of the provisions on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution shortly," the Nation said in its front page story.

The 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution gave effect to the devolution provisions of the controversial Indo-Lanka Accord, signed in July 1987.

Highly placed sources told The Nation that the President is poised to do this before the scheduled visit of Singh to Sri Lanka as the chief guest on the country's 60th anniversary celebrations on February 4 next year.An invitation has already been extended to the Indian Prime Minister in this connection.

"The Nation (newspaper) reliably learns that Premier Singh will not undertake to visit Sri Lanka for the forthcoming diamond jubilee, unless the government announces a political package to resolve the ethnic conflict," the newspaper said.

When contacted, a top Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry official denied any condition have been put forward for the proposed visit of Singh.
"I am not aware of any such condition," the official told PTI. The Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka A Manicka said he had no knowledge of the newspaper report.