Pranab to visit Sri Lanka soon, says Karunanidhi

December 4th, 2008 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will visit Sri Lanka soon to persuade Colombo to go for peace talks with the Tamil Tigers after announcing a ceasefire, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said Thursday after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.A delegation of political parties from Tamil Nadu, led by Karunanidhi, submitted a memorandum to Manmohan Singh on the conflict in Sri Lanka that has killed thousands and the urgent need to bring peace there.

The delegation also met United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, whose husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.

After reading the memorandum, the prime minister promised the delegation that Mukherjee would travel to Sri Lanka soon, Karunanidhi told reporters.

“The people of Tamil Nadu and Tamils across the world are deeply agitated over the continuing genocide on Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka and unabated abuse of human rights,” Karunanidhi said.

“We hope that the government would take steps immediately to sort out the problem very soon,” he said.

Karunanidhi’s DMK is a key component of the ruling UPA. His visit to New Delhi follows mass protests in Tamil Nadu against the Sri Lankan military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which Tamil Nadu politicians say has caused immense civilian suffering.

The memorandum urged the central government to “issue a strong warning to the Sri Lankan government” so that it ceases its onslaught against the LTTE.

The Indian government was also urged to make arrangements to initiate a dialogue between the LTTE and Colombo to arrive at a peaceful end to the dragging ethnic crisis.

They asked India to urge Sri Lanka to ensure proper rehabilitation of civilians displaced by fierce fighting in the island’s north and provide them food, shelter and medicines.

They also sought an end to what they said was the harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. Tamil Nadu is separated from Sri Lanka by a narrow strip of sea.

The AIADMK, Vaiko’s MDMK and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) did not join the delegation.

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