Reforms to end Sri Lankan conflict ready next month: FM

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2007 (AFP) – Constitutional reforms aimed at ending three decades of ethnic bloodshed in Sri Lanka could be finalized as early as next next month, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said here Wednesday.

“We are expecting it to be by April, the political process to come up with definite proposals for a political solution — the constitutional reforms,” he told AFP in an interview in Washington ahead of talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday.

He said that an all-party consultative committee had emerged with several proposed constitutional reforms to be refined into a “final” plan “within a few weeks from now,” setting the stage for what could be devolution of power in Sri Lanka.

“These are matters I would be able to impress upon the Secretary of State in terms of our political direction” towards a resolution to Sri Lanka’s 35-year-old ethnic conflict, in which 60,000 people have died, Bogollagama said.

He did not say how President Mahinda Rajapakse’s administration is going to forge what many consider a difficult consensus among the various political parties on the mechanics of sharing power with the minority Tamils.

Rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil E