WASHINGTON, March 12, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka needs true devolution of power to minority Tamils if it wants to permanently end its long-running ethnic war, Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said Wednesday. Menon, who was in Washington for talks, said the United States and the Sri Lankan government itself both agreed with regional power India on the need to quickly restore daily life in war-torn areas.
The Colombo government says it is on the verge of crushing the Tamil Tigers, who have been waging a campaign since 1972 to create a separate Tamil homeland on the Sinhalese-majority island.
India feels that along with reconstruction, Sri Lanka needs “to bring in the kinds of political steps including devolution which would enable the people there to feel they are in control of their own futures,” Menon said.
“Unless that is done in a credible fashion, we run the risk of actually continuing with this sense of alienation and displacement which the conflict has resulted in,” he told a news conference.
Menon said that his talks with US President Barack Obama’s administration showed the two sides “have very similar approaches.”
“We will continue to stay in touch to see how we can h