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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2967

Talking points for hardline Lanka President

[b]Talking points for hardline Lanka President [/b]

By M. Ramarao & Tushar Charan – Asian Tribune

[b]New Delhi, 18 December, (;[/b] Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse is coming to India a day after the Christmas in his first overseas visit. During his four-day state visit, he will take up the threads of discussions his foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera had with the Indian leadership and brief them of his plans to hasten peace process in the island nation.

Rajapakse will meet President A P J Abdul Kalam and Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He will hold wide-ranging discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling coalition's chairperson Sonia Gandhi, besides interaction with a cross section of Indian leaders in the tradition set by his predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera interacted with Indian government representatives on November 30 and December 1. As the first visitor from the island after the change of guard in Colombo, Samaraweera had some curiosity value and in that sense he had a receptive ear when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his deputies.

Outlining policy the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeks to follow with regard to the peace process, Samaraweera emphasized the continued commitment of the government to the maintenance of the ceasefire, and the desire for a review of its operations, so that the implementation of the Agreement can be made more effective.

Since that statement, several new developments have taken place on the ceasefire front. President Rajapaksa is expected to speak on these matters; he is of the view that "the greatest possible degree of openness, transparency and inclusivity in the peace process is essential for its acceptance and eventual success"

New Delhi has been told that President Rajapaksa and his administration would strive for a broad national consensus backed solution and that reconstruction and development in the North and East would not be held hostage to peace process but accorded the highest priority and implemented as a parallel track to peace effort.

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