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Sonia Gandhi calls on President

November 28, 2006- 12.30 GMT

Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa for informal discussions today (Nov. 28). She met the President at his suite in the Maurya Sheraton in New Delhi. This is the second meeting between the Sri Lankan President and the leader of the Congress Party in the past year. They last met when the President came on his first official visit to India, in December last year.

The leader of India's ruling coalition - the United Progressive Alliance - discussed matters of mutual interest with the President, particularly the relations between India and Sri Lanka, current political developments in Sri Lanka. 
President and Smt. Gandhi, considered the most powerful political personality in India, exchanged views on the proposals for great devolution of power in Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa said the Committee of Experts appointed by him to advise the members of the All Party Conference on a political solution, had done considerable work and proposal by the Committee is expected by mid-December.
The discussions also covered the Panchayat system in India, which was introduced by Smt. Gandhi's late husband, Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi, and is considered as one aspect, specifically relating to local government, among the larger proposals for devolution of power in Sri Lanka.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Minister Douglas Devananda, Foreign Secretary H. M. G. S. Palihakkara, Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat, Dr. Palitha Kohona, and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India, Mr. Romesh Jayasinghe were present at the meeting.



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