Provincial elections in Tamil north in 2012: Rajapaksa

Provincial elections in Tamil north in 2012: Rajapaksa

Rajapaksa said any political settlement to the matter will have to be approved by the parliament. "There was no pressure from India on the thirteenth amendment of thirteen plus," Rajapaksa told reporters.

The president said the election for the northern provincial council will be held "next year". He wanted the parties to start preparing for the polls which will be the first ever for the council since separated from the east.

Responding to a query on the visit by Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, he said the Indians had only discussed with him routine bilateral issues.

The Indian officials visited Colombo early this month in the backdrop of a call by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to impose economic sanctions on Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa said Menon had indicated to him the proposal made by his own Cabinet minister Douglas Devananda on the need for Sri Lankan parliament to thrash out the question of a political solution to the island's ethnic question.

He said appointing a parliamentary select committee on the ethnic question was not a delaying tactic. "Any solution that comes up will have to be approved in parliament," the president said. "I will back any solution approved by parliament".

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