Oct 08, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today emphasized that parliament is the best place to address the issue of power devolution in the country.
President Rajapaksa expressed his views when the Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid called on the President at the President's House this morning.
During the meeting, the President and the visiting Indian Minister discussed a number of issues of mutual interest with the underlying objective of developing strategies for the two countries to coordinate more closely towards further strengthening relations.
Commenting on the recently-concluded provincial elections in the Northern Province, Khurshid commended President Rajapaksa's stewardship in holding elections after decades and said he felt it was a very important step for society, one that will likely be viewed as a great historic moment.
On the issue of the implementation of the 13th Amendment to devolve power to the provinces, President Rajapaksa said the "Parliament is the best forum to address the issue."
He added that members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) should engage in a dialogue and come up with a solution that is in line with what the people want.
President Rajapaksa and Minister Khurshid also discussed issues that have arisen between fishermen of the two countries. It was agreed that the best way forward would be to facilitate a dialogue between fishing communities of both countries so that the fishermen themselves can find solutions to their problems.
A similar approach was also proposed for the business communities, to enhance interaction where business men and women of Sri Lanka and India can better work together.
Khurshid, who arrived in the island Monday on a two-day official visit met with his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday and held discussions on several key issues.
Following the meeting, the two sides signed eight agreements related to the setting up of a coal power plant in the country's East and a Memorandum of Understanding on technical assistance to the government's trilingual policy plan.
The Indian Minister will also visit Jaffna to observe the progress of India-funded projects in the region and meet with the newly sworn-in Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran.
The High Commissioner of India in Colombo Y.K. Sinha accompanied the Indian Minister along with several other officials from the Indian External Affairs Ministry and the Indian High Commission.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda, Minister of Power and Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunatilaka Amunugama and Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam were also present at the discussion.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)