Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about his government's plans to reach a political settlement with the Tamil ethnic community, which will include the setting up of a panel of eminent persons to examine all issues of discord.

In a 30-minute meeting here on Thursday, Mr. Rajapaksa also detailed the move to set up an Upper House in Parliament that would ensure greater representation to all ethnic communities and add weight to the move towards a political settlement, senior Foreign Ministry officials said.

The Sri Lankan President said he would also consult with all sections of the Tamil community, including those not represented in Parliament, to infuse a sense of participation and equality in the nation's re-building process after the end of conflict between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The two leaders also discussed the continuation of high-level exchanges, which will include a visit by Mr. Rajapaksa after about a couple of months. Dr. Singh said he looked forward to the visit which would further contribute to strengthening relations.

The Prime Minister congratulated Mr. Rajapaksa on his victory in the presidential elections, which was followed by a comprehensive win by his party in the recently held parliamentary polls.

The two leaders met after an interaction between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Sri Lankan counterpart, G.L. Peiris, here on Tuesday.

The two leaders underscored the need to expeditiously settle all those displaced by the war between the LTTE and the armed forces, with Mr. Krishna stressing on the need to rehabilitate them with dignity and providing them with livelihood.

In a recent report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that resettlement had started after a three-week hiatus due to the parliamentary elections and the Tamil New Year.

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