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* India hopes for meaningful devolution in Sri Lanka based on 13th Amendment
Wed, Feb 27, 2013, 11:02 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 27, New Delhi: India today expressed hope that there would be early progress in Sri Lanka on a meaningful devolution building upon the 13th Amendment and leading to national reconciliation.

India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid delivering a statement in Indian parliament today said India is engaged with Government of Sri Lanka to take forward the process of national reconciliation to arrive at a solution that meets the aspiration of the Tamil community for equality, justice, peace and dignity.

Speaking on the "Plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka" the Indian Minister said the focus and highest and most immediate priority for the Indian government of has been on the welfare and well-being of the Tamils citizens of Sri Lanka, their relief and rehabilitation and the reconstruction of infrastructure in the affected areas.

Kurshid underlined that India's constructive engagement with the Sri Lankan government and considerable assistance programme has contributed to the reconstruction and development of the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka.

Speaking of a political solution in Sri Lanka, Indian Minister reminded the assembly that it is a long standing issue and that Sri Lanka is going through its internal processes.

Noting that the sooner Sri Lanka can come to a political arrangement within which all the communities feel comfortable, and which works for all of them, the better, the Minister said Indian government will do whatever it can to support this process.

He said India's emphasis has been to persuade the Sri Lankan Government to take forward the process of broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil National Alliance, and show concrete movement towards a meaningful devolution of powers, including the implementation of the 13th Amendment and beyond.

According to the Indian Minister, India has conveyed to Sri Lanka on a number of occasions the urgent and imperative need for expeditious steps towards genuine national reconciliation, including investigations into allegation of human rights violations, restoration of normalcy in affected areas, reduction of 'high security zones', accountability for the list of missing persons and the redress of humanitarian concerns of affected families.

Commenting on India's stance on US sponsored UN resolution on Sri Lanka., the Minister said at this time India would encourage the US and Sri Lanka directly engage on the draft resolution and aim for a mutually acceptable outcome.

"Our decision on a potential resolution in the forthcoming meeting of the Human Rights Council will await the outcome of these efforts and would depend on the substance of the resolution finally tabled," the Khurshid stressed.

Speaking of the controversial issue of fishermen crossing each other's' boarders, the Minister said India has reiterated that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances and that all fishermen should be treated in a humane manner.

However, he suggested the he need for creating greater awareness among Indian fishermen to avoid crossing over into Sri Lankan waters for their own safety and security.

"We remain engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner," the Minister asserted.



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