Krishna meets Sri Lankan President

Colombo: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa here and is understood to have discussed a host of bilateral issues, including the ways to evolve a political solution to resolve the Tamil problem.

Rajapaksa hosted Krishna this morning for the second time since Monday at `Temple Trees`, the official residence of the President of Sri Lanka, for breakfast.

Last evening, Kirshna had attended `Thaipongal` reception hosted by the President. The President, clad in a safari suit, warmly welcomed Krishna at his chamber who was accompanied by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Pieris.

Krishna and Rajapaksa are understood to have discussed the current political situation in Sri Lanka and the process of finding a political solution to the decades-old Tamil question.

Officials had on Monday said Krishna would hold "substantive" discussions with the President on a variety of issues that include the relief and rehabilitation process of the Tamil civilians displaced due to the civil war that ended in 2009.

Krishna had on Monday set the tone for his talks with the top Sri Lankan leadership today by saying that India was committed to ensuring political settlement, including devolution of powers, to resolve the problem.

The Minister gave the assurance to a delegation from the Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella grouping of Tamil political parties in the country, and also told them that he would raise all issues that concern Tamil people during his meeting with the Sri Lankan leadership. .

Krishna would also meet Prime Minister D M Jayaratne and hold discussions with his counterpart Peiris later in the day during which he will also sign a MoU for construction of 49,000 houses for resettled Tamils in northern Lanka.

During the talks, Krishna is expected to press for an early political solution to the Tamil problem and review the developmental projects being implemented by India with regard to relief and rehabilitation of the Tamils displaced due to the three-decade war that ended in 2009 with the death of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.