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- Suresh Jaura
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SRI LANKA: News Briefs

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Colombo decides to summon CMs of all nine Provincial Councils to cabinet meetings once a month: Colombo has decided to summon the Chief Ministers (CMs) of all nine Provincial Councils to the cabinet meetings once a month. Accordingly, the Chief Ministers will attend the cabinet meeting at the third week of every month. This is a practice which will be restarted after a lapse of some time. Sources said that the restart of the programme is specifically aimed at summoning the newly appointed Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council C.V. Vigneswaran with whom the Government is building up a rapid rapport for reconciliation. Colombo Page, October 18, 2013.

Parliament is the best forum to address the issue of implementation of the 13th Amendment, says President Mahinda Rajapaksa: President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressing his view to Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid when the latter called on him at President's House in Colombo on October 8 said Parliament is the best forum to address the issue of implementation of the 13th Amendment. He added that Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) members should engage in dialogue and come up with a solution that is in line with 'what the people want'.

Meanwhile, Salman Khurshid during his visit to Jaffna District on October 8 said, "India remains committed to uplifting the lives of the people of the Northern Province through its efforts to restore the social, educational, economic and cultural infrastructure, which were devastated by the armed conflict." Daily News; Colombo Page, October 9, 2013.

First priority for new Government should be to ensure that lands destroyed in the war be reclaimed and livelihood programmes for the people introduced, says TNA Parliamentarian Mavai S. Senathiraja: Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Parliament (MP) Mavai S. Senathiraja from Jaffna said on October 6 that the first priority for the new Government should be to ensure that lands destroyed in the war be reclaimed and livelihood programmes for the people introduced. The international community has to put pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to rebuild the devastated areas he added. The second priority should be to pass laws to bring in money for the development of provincial councils. The local bodies, at present, were unable to access necessary funds for development, he said. The third thing, Senathiraja said, should be to give the people the right to self-rule. The Hindu, October 7, 2013.

EPC passes resolution calling for full implementation of the 13th amendment: The Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) on October 1 passed a resolution calling for the full implementation of the 13th amendment. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Group Leader Mohamed Jameel proposed the resolution asking for the meaningful implementation of the 13th Amendment which provided for the establishment of provincial councils in Sri Lanka. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is the main opposition in the EPC supported this resolution with the SLMC and the United National Party (UNP). Daily Mirror, October 2, 2013.

No withdrawal of army from north, says President Mahinda Rajapaksa: President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview to Al-Jazeera said that there will be no withdrawal of the Army from the North. Explaining his position, the President asked, "Then, if the other Provincial Councils also asked me to withdraw their Army camps all over the country where can I have the army?" The Government's argument against demilitarization is often centered on the question, "Where is the space for accommodating the troops?" The Hindu, October 1, 2013.

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