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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka President returns after successful SAARC summit
Fri, Apr 30, 2010, 08:21 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his delegation returned to the country after a successful conclusion at the 16th South Asian Association of Regional Conference (SAARC) Summit held in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan from April 28-29.

In the sidelines of the Summit President Rajapaksa has held bilateral discussions with the leaders of the South Asian nations on several significant issues affecting the region.

The President also discussed Sri Lanka's present developments with the United States Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs Robert Blake who was leading the U.S. observer delegation to the Summit.

President Rajapaksa in a 30-minute meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh discussed variety of issues including the reconciliation process and a political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

The President told Dr, Singh that he would seek the input from all sections of the Tamil community not just from the representatives in the parliament, and seek their participation in the nation's re-building process after the end of the war.

To this end the government plans to set up a panel of eminent persons to examine all issues of discord, the President informed the Indian Premier.

President Rajapaksa also detailed plans to change the parliamentary structure and set up an Upper House in Parliament that would provide the opportunity for all the ethnic communities to have a greater representation.

In talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, President Rajapaksa agreed to promote bilateral relations in all the fields, especially, in defence, trade and commerce.

The Pakistani Premier had said that Pakistan would continue to assist Sri Lanka in military training and to fulfill its defence needs and requirements.

The Summit concluded with the adoption of the Joint Declaration and Thimpu Statement on Climate Change.

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