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Last updated: 24 June, 2009 - Published 16:19 GMT
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Sri Lanka 'agree' to unload ship

Indian FM, SM Krishna
India says Sri Lanka 'kindly agreed to our suggestion'
The Indian government says Sri Lanka has agreed to accept a cargo of relief aid brought by Tamil expatriates in Europe and meant for people displaced by the now ended war in northern Sri Lanka.

Earlier this month the Sri Lankan authorities had turned away the ship carrying the aid.

The news that the vessel, the Captain Ali, will after all be allowed to offload nearly 900 tonnes of food and medicine, came after talks in Delhi between India’s foreign minister, S.M. Krishna, and a high-level Sri Lankan delegation.

Indian Red Cross

Mr Krishna said in a communique that he had asked the Sri Lankans, as a humanitarian gesture, to let the boat unload the aid and that the visitors had “kindly agreed to our suggestion”.

He said the goods would be routed to Sri Lanka through the Indian Red Cross.

A crew member told the BBC he believed they would unload the cargo in Chennai, the Indian port near which they are currently anchored, and that the Red Cross would then take it on to the island.

A Tamil group called Mercy Mission to Vanni sent the aid on its journey from Britain and France two months ago and was accused by the Sri Lankan government of trying to help the now defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.

But Mercy Mission says its aims are purely humanitarian.

It has thanked India for its intervention and help.

Aid ship still waiting to unload
23 June, 2009 | Sandeshaya
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