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Last updated: 21 October, 2008 - Published 13:27 GMT
 
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Sri Lanka 'looks after all citizens'
 
President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees (Library photo by Chandana Perera)
President says Tamil Nadu is misinformed of Sri Lankan situation
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa says his government looks after all citizens including the displaced in the north.

"I carry out this responsibility to the fullest especially with regard to the people who are temporarily displaced in the North, due to the ongoing military operations to defeat terrorism. There is a wrong impression created in Tamil Nadu that this not been done. This is furthest from the correct position," Mr. Rajapaksa told heads and editors of Sri Lanka media.

The number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) is "inflated", he said, and accused some Tamil newspapers of not portraying a correct picture of the situation in the rebel-held Vanni.

IDP figures disputed

"At present there are food supplies for two months in the affected areas where the IDPs are not more than 150,000," a statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat quoting the president said.

Gordon Weiss
UN estimates that nearly 220,000 IDPs are in the north

The British government said last week that nearly 220,000 people are displaced in the north.

The UN spokesman in Colombo, Gordon Weiss, also confirmed the figure.

Sri Lanka maintains "very strong" ties with India which had "always helped" Sri Lanka, Mr. Rajapaksa has told the media personnel.

He was responding to questions raised about the continuous protests and ultimatum issued by Tamil Nadu political parties on the Indian government to intervene to end fighting in Sri Lanka.

Ties with India 'very strong'

"In response to another question President Rajapaksa said that in the telephone conversation with the Indian Prime Minister there was no reference to the stopping of military operations against the terrorism of the LTTE," the presidential secretariat added.

Shiv Shankar Menon
Mr. Menon says India has already sent humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka

In the lower house of parliament in India, many parliamentarians from south India shouted slogans calling the Indian government to intervene in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Rajapaksa told media heads in Colombo on Tuesday, he has informed Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh that the military operations against the LTTE will be continued.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who attended the meeting has told the media heads that recent developments in Tamil Nadu did not reflect the policies of New Delhi.

India 'sent food'

In a separate interview, Minister Bogollagama told the BBC that Sri Lanka is maintaining a "dialogue at the highest level" with India.

 I carry out this responsibility to the fullest especially with regard to the people who are temporarily displaced in the North, due to the ongoing military operations to defeat terrorism. There is a wrong impression created in Tamil Nadu that this not been done. This is furthest from the correct position
 
President Rajapaksa

"Our engagement has always been much candid and transparent with Delhi," he told BBC's Roland Buerk.

However, India's Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, has described the situation in Sri Lanka as a humanitarian crisis.

He has told journalists in Delhi on Monday, that India had already sent humanitarian aid through international agencies for the IDPs in northern Sri Lanka.

Mr. Menon has reiterated India's policy that Sri Lanka's conflict cannot be resolved through military means.

 
 
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