Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made it clear that any political solution to the ethnic issue should be preceded by consensus among Tamil parties.
"Some (Tamil parties) had already responded positively. There are more parties than one representing Tamils and we look forward to consensus among all, especially on aspects of development," Rajapaksa said in Colombo on Monday evening, on the issue of political solution to the ethnic problem.
The President said he also looked forward to a dialogue with all Tamil political parties.
He stated this during a meeting with the visiting delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the UK led by Labour Party MP Paul Murphy.
On the question of the provincial administration in Northern Sri Lanka, the CPA-UK delegates were told that the first priority will be local government elections.
After that, there would be elections to the Northern Provincial Council, on the lines of the procedure followed in the East where the LTTE was defeated in 2007, he said.
Rajapaksa said political progress had taken place in the East, after the defeat of "terrorism" following which elections were successfully held.
Murphy appreciated the efforts of the Sri Lankan government in defeating the Tiger rebels.
"All parties in the United Kingdom stand by you and are ready to help Sri Lanka today," he said.
"We are happy that terrorism has gone away from this island; that reconstruction, rejuvenation and reconciliation is the order of the day," said Murphy.
Recalling his earlier visit to Sri Lanka, when he went to Kilinochchi which was at that time under LTTE control, Murphy said the situation here was similar to that in the UK which had won the war in Northern Ireland to secure peace.
The President explained to the delegation that what the people wanted the most today in the North of Sri Lanka were the essentials like water, electricity, schools, health services and education, an official statement said.
"There was a yearning for development among the Tamil people," Rajapaksa said, asserting that there could be no development without peace and vice-versa.
On efforts regarding reconciliation, the President told the delegates of the work being done by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed for looking into the last phase of the Eelam IV war.