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Last updated: 22 April, 2012 - Published 12:15 GMT
 
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India call to withdraw troops rejected
 

 
 
Indian delegation visiting refugee camps in Menik Farm (file photo: Dinasena Rathugamage)
The delegation has requested the president to withdraw military from the Tamil-dominated areas

The president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has rejected a request by the all party Indian parliamentary delegation to withdraw military from the Tamil dominated areas, his spokesman said.

Bandula Jayasekara told BBC Sandeshaya that Mr Rajapaksa politiely pointed out that the military is stationed all over the country and "not only in the north,"so it will not be possible to withdraw troops from the north and east.

After a week-long tour during which they met Tamil political and religious leaders as well as civilians, the Indian delegation led by opposition leader Sushma Swaraj had a breakfast meeting with President Rajapaksa on Saturday.

The demilitarisation of the Tamil-dominated north and east were among the issues that were raised by the Indian delegation with the president.

LLRC recommendation

"There is no militarisation in Sri Lanka," Mr Jayasekara told BBC Sandeshaya.

 While there is a visible military presence even in the capital in many other parts of the world, we have no visible military even at the airport now
 
President's spokesman, Bandula Jayasekara

The Indian request has come in the wake of the recommendation of the government’s own war panel, Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), to withdraw military from the north.

"While there is a visible military presence even in the capital in many other parts of the world, we have no visible military even at the airport now," Bandula Jayasekara added.

Describing the visit of the Indian delegation as "very positive goodwill visit," he refused to elaborate on LLRC recommendations.

The delegation leader, meanwhile, has told journalists that President Rajapaksa once again pledged to fully devolve powers into regions in line with the 13 amendments to the constitutions with his own additions called "13 Plus."

The president's spokesman, however, refused to comment on the alleged pledge.

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
Break deadlock and resume dialogue - India
21 April, 2012 | Sandeshaya
No power, no devolution - TNA tells India
17 April, 2012 | Sandeshaya
Indian Tamil parties boycott SL tour
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