Indian foreign secretary to meet Rajapaksa

January 13th, 2009 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiColombo, Jan 13 (IANS) Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a two-day trip to Sri Lanka this week, government sources said Tuesday. According to the sources, Menon is scheduled to arrive late Thursday. He is expected to meet Rajapaksa Friday and discuss issues of bilateral nature, including the present situation in the island’s north.

Menon will also meet Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

Although the sources described his visit as “a routine one”, it comes a few days after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi again urged New Delhi “to step up measures” to end to the conflict in Sri Lanka which he said had caused suffering to the Tamil people.

“I will again (request) Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to speed up pro-active moves to solve the (Sri Lankan) problem,” Karunanidhi said in Chennai Monday.

Karunanidhi’s DMK is a key coalition partner of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Sri Lankan troops have captured large areas in the island’s north and are now advancing into the last major bastion of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Mullaitivu district.

Sri Lanka last week said it would “positively consider” extraditing Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran to India if he is captured alive. It is not known if this would be discussed during Menon’s visit.

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