India asks Sri Lanka to address ‘root causes’

May 23rd, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) With Sri Lanka’s war against Tamil Tigers coming to an end, India’s new External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Saturday urged Colombo to address the “root cause of the conflict” by effective devolution of powers to all communities in the island nation.
“It is our view that as the conventional conflict in Sri Lanka comes to an end, this is a moment when the root causes of that conflict will have to be addressed,” Krishna said in his brief interaction with the media hours after being named the external affairs minister early in the day.

“This would include political steps towards the effective devolution of power within the Sri Lankan Constitution so that Sri Lankans of all communities, including the Tamils, can feel at home and lead lives of dignity at their own free will,” he said.

“India will work with the people and government of Sri Lanka to provide relief to those affected by the tragic conflict and to rapidly rehabilitate those who have been displaced bringing normalcy to their lives as soon as possible,” said Krishna.

He was reading from a statement issued by the external affairs ministry after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was crushed by the Sri Lankan troops, bringing to an end of a decades-old insurgency.

Early this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon to Cololmbo where they conveyed a similar message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Colombo agreed with New Delhi that the time was “opportune to focus attention on issues of relief, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconciliation including a permanent political solution in Sri Lanka”, India’s external affairs ministry said in a statement after Menon and Narayanan returned to New Delhi Thursday.

The Sri Lankan government conveyed its intention to dismantle the relief camps at the earliest and outlined a 180-day plan to re-settle the bulk of IDPs to their original places of habitation.

India, on its part, pledged “to provide all possible assistance in the implementation of such a plan in areas such as de-mining, provision of civil infrastructure and re-construction of houses.”

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