Chandrika for sharing power with Tamil Tigers

New York, September 15:

Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga has pledged to turn her embattled republic into a federal state and share power with minority Tamils in a bid to end decades of ethnic bloodshed, despite a rebellion in her own party.

Kumaratunga told the Asia Society in New York yesterday that her nation must change its unitary character and work towards helping Tamil Tiger rebels to join the political mainstream. “We need to transform the state so it is more inclusive — equally reflecting the concerns of all communities. “My view and the view of overwhelming sections of Sri Lankan society is that this will involve transforming the state from a unitary one to one that is plural and federal in nature,” she said.Her remarks were in sharp contrast to pre-election pacts signed by her prime minister and party number two Mahinda Rajapakse vowing that any solution to conflict would have to be within a unitary, not federal state.