( January 17, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Indian External Affairs Minister, S. M. Krishna today said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured that he was committed to a political settlement on a ’13th Amendment plus’ approach.
He made the remarks during a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris in Colombo today.
The visiting minister met President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (17) at the Janadhipathi Mandiraya.
Mr. Krishna said Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations, when implemented will mark a major step forward in genuine national reconciliation to which the Sri Lankan government is committed.
“Sri Lanka must make use of this opportunity. The Governemnt of sri lanka on many occasions has discussed about its committements to move forward for a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution and building on it to achieve a meaniful devolution of powers. We look forward for an expeditious and constructive approach to the diagloue process”, he said.
“We believe that the continuation of the dialogue between the government and the TNA would pave the way for a political settlement”, he said.
“I discussed these matters with the President this morning. The President assured me that he stands by his committing for pursuing the 13th Amendment Plus approach’, he added.
“I also took this opportunity say that the fishermen issue is an emotive issue which should be handled with care’, he said.
Following are the agreements signed between Sri Lanka and India during the visit;
MoU between Government of India and Sri Lanka for Housing Project
An MoU specifying the modalities for the next phase of the Housing Project being implemented with India’s assistance of approximately US Dollars 260 million was signed by Hon’ble S.M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister of India and Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka. The MoU involves the construction of 49,000 houses, out of a total of 50,000 houses and includes inter alia reconstruction of 38,000 houses, repairs of 5,000 houses under the owner-driven model for IDPs, and construction of 6,000 houses by agencies for vulnerable sections of IDPs who are unable to build their own houses. A pilot project for construction of first 1,000 houses is already in an advance stage of completion.
2. Line of Credit of US dollars 382.37 Million between Government of India and Sri Lanka for the restoration of Northern Railway Services.
Line of Credit Agreement of US dollars 382.37 million for the restoration of Northern Railway Services was signed by Mr. T.C.A. Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director, EXIM Bank of India and Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Government of Sri Lanka. The Line of Credit will be used for track laying on the Pallai-kankesanthurai railway line, setting up of signaling and telecommunications systems for the Northern railway line and other projects as may be mutually agreed by the Governments of India and Sri Lanka.
3. Buyer’s Credit Agreement for US Dollars 60.69 million between EXIM Bank of India and Government of Sri Lanka
Buyer’s Credit Agreement for US dollars 60.69 milllion was signed by Mr. T.C.A. Ranganathan, Chairman and Managing Director , EXIM Bank of India and Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Government of Sri Lanka for financing Greater Dambulla Water Supply Project for supply, erection and commissioning of water treatment plant and distribution across Dambulla region in Sri Lanka.
4. MoU between Government of India and Sri Lanka on cooperation in the field of Agriculture.
An MoU on cooperation in the field of Agriculture was signed by H.E. Mr. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India and Mr. W. Sakalasooriya, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Sri Lanka. Under the MoU, both sides shall promote development of cooperation in the fields of agricultural science and technology, agricultural production and agro-processing through joint activities, programmes, exchange of scientific materials, information and personnel. The cooperation will be effected through biennial work Plans and joint activities.
5. MoU between Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
An MoU was signed by Dr. J.S. Sarma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Mr. Anusha Palpita, Director General, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL). The MoU provides for establishing a mechanism of technical and institutional cooperation in the field of telecommunications, with the purpose of development of telecommunications in both the countries particularly in the areas of technological developments, universal access to telecommunication services, oversight of service provision, convergence, next generation networks, new technologies, spectrum issues, green telecom, number portability, economic regulation, ICTs for development and other issues as may be mutually agreed.