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Krishna meets Sri Lankan Tamil, Muslim leaders

Monday January 16, 2012 10:00:38 PM, IANS

Colombo: India's External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Monday met separately leaders of ethnic Tamils and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) ahead of his talks Tuesday with his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris.

"A seven-member delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and a five-member delegation of the SLMC held discussions with Krishna on various issues, including the reconciliation efforts being made towards a political settlement of the ethnic Tamils," an Indian High Commission official told IANS here.

The TNA delegation was led by R. Sampanthan, leader of the political representatives of the Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan minorities.

Sri Lankan Minister of Justice Rauf Hakeem led the SLMC delegation.

"As the discussions were held behind closed doors, we do not have details of what transpired between the minister and the two delegations," the official said.

Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha was present during the discussions with the delegations, which lasted 45 minutes each.

Krishna arrived here earlier from Bangalore on a four-day official visit to the island nation for talks on bilateral issues, including a lasting solution to the Tamils' issue, and review the progress made in the reconstruction and development of the ethnic minorities two years after the three-decade long armed conflict ended in May 2009.

The TNA was formed over a decade ago with moderate Tamil parties and a number of former rebels groups for securing an autonomous state in island nation, but reconciled to accept regional self-rule with land and police powers.

The three-decade-old SLMC represents the Muslim community in the eastern province of the country and has five members in the 225-member National Assembly.




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