Colombo: Talks between Sri Lankan government and the main Tamil party TNA over devolution of power have been hit by differences over a parliamentary procedure and three key demands raised by the latter, but the two sides have decided to continue discussions next week.
   
Nimal Siripala de Silva, the senior minister who led on Tuesday's sixteenth round of talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said despite the disagreement the next round of talks would be held on December 14.
   
The two sides have had a disagreement over three key points in TNA's proposals handed over to the government in March.
   
The government sources said on Wednesday that TNA's points of contention over the re-merger of the north and east provinces, and land and legislative powers to the provincial councils did not find favour with the government.
   
The disagreement together with the already existing differences over how the devolution package be taken up by the parliamentary select committee have resulted in considerable friction.
   
The TNA presses for full implementation of the devolution framework outlined in the thirteenth amendment established in 1987 under the backing of the Rajiv Gandhi government.
   
The thirteenth amendment led to the setting up of a provincial council for each of the island's nine provinces.    

However, the north and east provinces where the Tamil minority seeks autonomy remained merged as a single province until 2006 when the Supreme Court ruled that two provinces need to be separated.
   
The latest round of talks between the TNA and the government came on Tuesday in spite of a separate spat involving the parliamentary select committee (PSC) process on devolution.
   
The government which wants PSC to run parallel with the bilateral talks with the main Tamil party insisted that TNA named their members to represent it.
   
The TNA disagreed on the grounds that the agreement reached at the previous rounds was that the government would first submit its proposals to be taken up at the PSC before TNA could name its members.
   
This prompted the government to accuse the TNA of trying stalling tactics.
   
"The TNA should now decide whether it still wanted to lead Tamils on an ideological path or adopt a tangible action plan benefits for the masses," Sajin Vas Gunawardena, a government parliamentarian at the talks with TNA said.

Agencies