Mahinda telephones Manmohan

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 October 2008, 23:15 GMT]
Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday to discuss recent developments in Sri Lanka. While the Sri Lankan press release is silent on details, the Indian brief discloses the PM's concern for the safety of civilians, ensured relief supply to IDPs, not enmeshing the Tamil community in the hostilities with LTTE and nurturing democracy in the East, apart from the usual reiterations on political solution, united Sri Lanka and Indian fishermen casualties. The Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee was invited by his Sri Lankan counterpart to visit Sri Lanka at an early date, according to SL press release.

Full text of the press statement issued by the media unit of the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi, follows:

President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today to discuss the recent developments in Sri Lanka.

During the telephone conversation, the Prime Minister expressed his deep concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the North of Sri Lanka, especially on the plight of the civilians caught in the hostilities. He emphasised that the safety and the security of these civilians must be safeguarded at all costs. The Prime Minister also said that, in order to address the humanitarian situation, continued and uninterrupted relief supplies be ensured for the Internally Displaced Persons. President Rajapaksha assured the Prime Minister that all necessary measures are being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh further mentioned that the rights and the welfare of the Tamil community of Sri Lanka should not get enmeshed in the on-going hostilities against the LTTE. He reiterated that there was no military solution to the conflict and urged the President to start a political process for a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. He also emphasised the need to nurture the democratic process in the Eastern Province.

The Prime Minister asked President Rajapaksa to instruct the Sri Lankan Navy to desist from firing on Indian fishermen and reiterated that killing of fishermen is unacceptable. They agreed to work on practical arrangements to prevent such incidents.


Following is the full text of the statement issued by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo:

President discusses situation in the North with Indian Prime Minister

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a telephone discussion today (18 October 2008) with Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, during which he briefed the Indian leader on the current situation in the North, where the security forces are engaged in an operation to disarm the LTTE and restore democracy, peace and stability to the region.

President Rajapaksa reiterated that the security forces are under strict instructions to avoid causing any civilian casualties, during this operation. He also informed Dr. Singh that Sri Lanka is mindful and appreciative of the concerns of India regarding the situation in the North, and aware of the context in which these matters have been raised.

Consequent to this discussion, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has invited the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Pranab Mukherjee to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka at an early date.

Both leaders agreed to maintain a dialogue at a high political level, in keeping with the longstanding and excellent bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo
18 October 2008

 

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