India wants Sri Lanka to work on political package
This view was conveyed to Samaraweera when he met top Indian leaders in New Delhi on May 8, reports PK Balachandran.india Updated: May 10, 2006 18:24 IST
While India fully agrees with the Sri Lankan government's assessment that the LTTE is not serious about the peace process and is itching for war, it also wants Sri Lanka to work on a consensus-based political package to solve the Tamil problem.
This view was conveyed to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera when he met top Indian leaders in New Delhi on May 8 and 9, highly placed sources told Hindustan Times over the phone from the Indian capital on Wednesday.
Indian leaders and officials appreciated the Sri Lankan armed forces' patience and restraint in the face of grave provocations by the LTTE and said that a peaceful negotiated settlement, and not war, was the best way of solving the ethnic question.
They gently conveyed the message that the only way out of the present sticky situation was to work for a "southern consensus" on a political solution to the conflict, a political package to be precise.
The Indian leaders urged the Sri Lankans to work out at least the broad contours of a possible political solution, the sources said.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister said that consensus was being worked out through the All-Party Conferences convened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The government was working out the broad contours of a possible political settlement, Samaraweera said.
However, so far, all that the Sri Lankan government has said is that it wants to devolve power to the Tamil-speaking areas, within the contours of a unitary Constitution.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister said that while President Rajapaksa was all for talks, the LTTE did not seem interested in a peaceful, negotiated settlement, considering the number of security forces personnel it had killed in recent months.
Samaraweera wanted the international community to put political and financial pressure on the LTTE so that it was compelled to come to the negotiating table.
Sources said that the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister's two-day visit to New Delhi was basically a public relations exercise, " a charm offensive" to develop close, personal ties with top Indian leaders across the political board.
Samaraweera had met as many as 18 leaders in two days.