|Military victories offer political opportunity for normalcy in North – President tells Mukherjee|
|Wednesday, 28 January 2009|
Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held detailed, useful and productive discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last night (27 January). The visit of the Indian Minister followed an invitation for him to visit Sri Lanka, in keeping with the tradition of regular and constructive dialogue between India and Sri Lanka at the highest level. This visit followed the recent visit by Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon.
The discussions, held at President’s House, covered recent developments in Sri Lanka, the entire gamut of India-Sri Lanka relations and regional issues of mutual interest. It was agreed that India-Sri Lanka relations are developing strongly and have matured into an abiding friendship. It is particularly important at this time of transition and change that both sides should continue to strengthen ties.
President Rajapaksa expressed his hopes for future developments in Sri Lanka, and stressed that the present military victories offer a political opportunity to restore life to normalcy in the Northern Province and throughout Sri Lanka. The President assured the visiting Indian Minister of his intent for both countries to work together to enable Sri Lankans, and particularly the Tamil community in the North, to begin leading normal lives as soon as possible.
External Affairs Minister Mukherjee expressed India’s readiness to participate in the reconstruction of northern Sri Lanka so as to overcome the ravages of armed conflict and also lay the economic and political foundations of a sustainable peace in which all communities in Sri Lanka feel comfortable. India will work together with Sri Lanka on a reconstruction plan for these areas which involves infrastructure development and other support.
President Rajapaksa assured Minister Mukherjee that it was his intention to move as quickly as possible to implement the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which followed the India-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987 and even explore the possibility to go further than these proposals.
Both sides reviewed the humanitarian situation arising as a result of the conflict. The Sri Lankan side reassured that it will respect the safe zones declared by the Security Forces to minimize the effect of conflict on Tamil civilians. The Indian side will continue to extend its relief supplies to civilians caught up in the zone of conflict.
During the discussions, President Rajapaksa extended a personal invitation to an all party delegation from Tamil Nadu led by Chief Minister Karunanidhi and Ms. J. Jayalalitha, General Secretary of the AIADMK, to see for themselves the situation on the ground and to persuade the LTTE to lay down arms and join the democratic mainstream.Both sides agreed that an early restoration of normal democratic life in the areas affected by the conflict would be a major contribution to peace and stability. The Indian side indicated that it will do all that is necessary to bring this about.
Courtesy: News.lk, Daily News:Picture
|Last Updated ( Friday, 14 August 2009 )|
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