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Last updated: 18 January, 2009 - Published 14:44 GMT
 
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Ensure safety of civilians - India
 
President Rajapaksa (R) with Mr. Menon (photo: Sudath Silva)
India has expressed concern at the humanitarian situation in the north
India has urged Sri Lanka to ensure the safety and security of civilians inside rebel-held territory in the north as the Sri Lankan military intensifies its offensive there.

The Indian foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon expressed India's concern at the humanitarian situation in the north during a meeting with the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kandy on Saturday.

An Indian External Affairs Ministry statement said Mr Menon also urged Sri Lanka to speed up efforts to find a negotiated political settlement to the conflict.

Fighting terrorism

Mr. Menon has told President Rajapaksa that Indo-Lanka relations have never been so close, warm and deep, according to a statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat.

 The visiting Foreign Secretary reaffirmed India’s cooperation with Sri Lanka in the attempts to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka and the region
 
Presidential Secretariat

“The visiting Foreign Secretary reaffirmed India’s cooperation with Sri Lanka in the attempts to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka and the region,” the statement added.

The Sri Lankan president has once again pledged to find a political solution “and that he would deal with terrorism firmly and militarily,” it said.

International human rights organisations say as many as a-quarter-of-a-million civilians are trapped in rebel territory.

The government in Delhi has been under increasing pressure from Tamils in southern India to do more about the conflict in Sri Lanka.

 
 
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