Manmohan, Rajapaksa discuss Tamil situation, bilateral ties (Lead)

September 20th, 2012 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Bhopal, Sep 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday met Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa and pressed him for an early solution to the decades-long ethnic issue and stressed on the need to fast-track rehabilitation of displaced Tamils.

Rajapaksa called on President Pranab Mukherjee and later met Manmohan Singh to discuss various issues that impinge on bilateral relations.

“Both the meetings consisted of discussions in a restricted format, followed by meetings along with delegations. Each of the two meetings lasted more than 40 minutes each,” said official sources.

“The meetings provided an opportunity to comprehensively review all matters of mutual interest. This was the first detailed discussion of all substantive issues since June 2010,” said the sources.

During the talks, the Sri Lankan side updated the Indian side on its efforts for the rehabilitation of war-displaced Tamils in the island nation.

Rajapaksa is understood to have assured India that his government was doing all it can to speed up a lasting solution to the ethnic issue, said informed sources.

Rajapaksa began a three-day visit to India Wednesday night. He has been invited by the Madhya Pradesh government for the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies in Sanchi.

His visit comes amid anger in sections in Tamil Nadu about the alleged persecution of Sri Lankan Tamils during the last phase of the war with the LTTE that ended in May 2009.

In Madhya Pradesh, around half-a-dozen supporters of MDMK protesting the visit of Rajapaksa were detained at Salamatpur near Sanchi, police said Thursday.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko, who arrived in Nagpur with over 1,000 supporters on way to Sanchi, Wednesday attacked the central government and the Madhya Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for inviting Rajapaksa.

In March, India voted for a US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. India said it was aimed at speeding up the reconciliation process in the island nation.

India has voiced disappointment over the slow pace of reconciliation in Sri Lanka and the lack of progress in implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, a panel Colombo set up to probe charges of human rights violations.

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