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Last updated: 18 October, 2008 - Published 13:28 GMT
 
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President Rajapaksa phones Indian PM
 
President Mahinda Rajapaksa  at a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
President Mahinda Rajapaksa telephoned Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Saturday
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has telephoned Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to discuss the recent developments in Sri Lanka.

During a telephone conversation on Saturday , the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had 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, Indian Foreign Ministry statement said.


Safety & Security

Indian Prime Minister has emphasised that the safety and the security of these civilians must be safeguarded at all costs.

He has 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.

Rights & Welfare

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.

Reaction

President Mahinda Rajapaksa 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.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka in a statement said that the President has reiterated 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.

Invitation to Indian FM

Consequent to this discussion, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollgama 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, Foreign Ministry statement added.

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.

 
 
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