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Sri Lankan govt hints at direct talks with the LTTE
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January 11, 2008 17:02 IST

As part of its efforts to resolve the 25-year-old ethnic conflict, the Sri Lankan government may invite the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for direct talks after the report on devolution package is accepted by all political parties and then ratified by a referendum.

"Once the new proposals are ready and accepted by all democratic establishments in the country, they would have to be ratified by a referendum," presidential advisor and parliamentarian Basil Rajapakse said.

"After they are ratified, the government will invite the LTTE for direct talks based on the proposals," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror newspaper.

Rajapakse, the younger brother of Sri Lanka [Images]n President Mahinda Rajapakse, said that the government will present a new set of proposals to the LTTE based on the Mahinda Chintana, the plan unveiled by the President towards building a new Sri Lanka. Basil Rajapakse said that the proposals will be drafted taking into consideration the sentiments of all stakeholders in the conflict, especially those of the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala civic organisations in the north and the east besides the Pro-Tamil National Alliance party.

The new proposals will be ready soon after the All Party Representative Committee submits its report to President Rajapakse. The committee is expected to submit its report by the end of this month, he added.

The government has a legitimate right to defend civilians and property against the terrorist acts of the LTTE, said Rajapakse. Commenting on the present wave of violence by the LTTE in and around Colombo, Rajapakse said that as a result of constant vigilance by security forces, the outfit had resorted to violent activities such as the killings of Nation Building Minister D P Dassanayaka and parliamentarian T Maheswaran.

"They (LTTE) are not in a position to carry out large scale explosions, as it is difficult to transport explosives in large quantities That is why they explode Claymore mines, targeting a lesser number of people," Rajapakse said.

The President on Thursday asked political parties to shed their differences and agree on a final draft on devolution to resolve the ethnic issue. He requested APRC Chairman, Minister Tissa Vitharana to hand over the final draft for a political solution agreed upon by the APRC, to him by January 23.

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