The government on Wednesday said the consultative process of deciding whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo next week was at a “fairly advanced” stage.

“All issues are now available for decision-making. We hope to have an early outcome,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told journalists here on Wednesday.

In case the Prime Minister does travel to Colombo, he is expected to visit Jaffna also. The capital of the Tamil-majority Northern Province in Sri Lanka, where much of the alleged human rights abuses occurred during the conflict between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The MEA is in favour of the Prime Minister attending the CHOGM on strategic considerations but the Tamil Nadu Assembly recently passed a resolution, calling on India to totally boycott the meeting.

In a letter to Dr. Singh, Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister and an ethnic Tamil C.V. Wigneswaran thanked New Delhi for “persuading” Colombo to hold elections under the 13th Amendment. He also indicated the victorious Tamil National Alliance’s standing as a credible interlocutor on behalf of Sri Lankan Tamils by pointing out that elections were won by a “sizeable majority.”

South Block is now arguing that when Northern Province has a popularly elected government led by Mr. Wigneswaran, who himself is going for CHOGM, “what is there now to protest about?”

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