Sri Lanka to study foreign devolution models to end fighting

July 5, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka will study devolution models across the world before developing a power-sharing mechanism with Tamil Tiger rebels to end separatist violence, a senior minister said Wednesday. Rajapakse’s ruling party received crucial support from political hardliners, but has since angered his backers with his offers of talks with the LTTE over power devolution. Policy Planning Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said President Mahinda Rajapakse named a 12-member committee to advise him on constitutional reforms to end three decades of ethnic bloodshed that has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

The latest committee is an initiative outside the ongoing all-party conference which is trying to hammer out a position among all the major majority Sinhalese political parties before negotiating with the Tigers.

“What the president wants is the new committee to study devolution models all over the world and look at the successes and form something that is best suited for us,” Rambukwella said.

He said the government was keen to revive talks with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who suspended their participation in Norwegian-brokered peace talks in April 2003.

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