Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Sri Lanka minorities hold talks in Switzerland

A Sri Lankan Tamil minority woman holds up a placard during a public protest in Colombo
Some Tamils are demanding their relatives are released

Political parties representing minority Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka are holding talks in Switzerland, the first since the conflict ended in May.

Sri Lanka's social welfare minister said they aim to find a shared position on issues affecting minorities.

The meeting, organised by the Tamil diaspora, gathers representatives from across the political spectrum.

Although there is no formal agenda, issues about the return of internally displaced people will be discussed.

Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, who heads the Eelam People's Democratic Party, told the BBC that the aim of the meeting was to reach "common ground" on issues affecting minorities in the island nation to negotiate with the government.

He said that each party would bring its own issues to the table but these were expected to include the devolution of power to provinces and the granting of amnesty to political detainees and former militants who surrendered during the conflict.

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