Sri Lanka Committed to Province-Based Devolution
    2009-06-18 22:59:50     Xinhua      Web Editor: Wu Tong
 

The Sri Lankan government is committed to fully implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution mooted in 1987 as a solution to the island's ethnic conflict, a senior government spokesman said Thursday.

"The government is committed to the 13th amendment and the provincial councils," the cabinet spokesman and Minister of Media and Information Anura Yapa told reporters. Yapa said some debates have begun with regard to conferring the councils with police and land powers.

"These issues can be sorted out through discussion," Yapa stressed.

Fully implementing the provisions of the 13th amendment is currently being seen as the engine to offer some form of political power to the island's Tamil minority.

Since the government's comprehensive military success over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil last month the government has come up with calls to settle for power sharing with the Tamil minority.

The amendment became part of the island's constitution in 1987 as a direct result of the Indian intervention. Each of the island' s nine provinces were to have a provincial council with powers devolved to them from the central government in Colombo.

Tamil Tiger rebels based in the north and east and some of the south based Sinhala majority political parties opposed the move, with the former saying that it offered little to the Tamil minority while the latter claiming that it was a sell-out of the island to India.

The system failed to offer a lasting solution to the conflict as the Tamil Tigers continued their violence to create a separate homeland for the Tamils until they came to be crushed by the military last month.

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