India should continue its position on non-intervention: Sri Lanka

June 17th, 2008 - 8:36 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Sri Lanka Monday hoped that India will keep its position of non-intervention in the three-decade long conflict in the island nation. It also said its army was “closing onto” Tamil Tigers’ chief V. Prabhakaran. “We hope that India will keep on doing what it is already doing,” Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told reporters Monday, in reply to a query on a recent statement by a senior “official” of the militant Tamil Tigers calling for “Indian intervention” to solve the problem.

Bogollagama was here on a two-day visit to extend a formal invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the 15th Saarc Summit in August.

India has kept off from the intractable civil war in Sri Lanka, especially after its disastrous experience of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to the island in the ’80s.

Since then, India has said that it did not believe in a military solution to the problem and that a political settlement had to be acceptable to all parties of the conflict within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.

The minister said that his government believed in “political solution to political issues” and reiterated that there was “no military solution”. At the same time, Sri Lankan defence forces have been pressing on the LTTE in the northern province with intensive security operations.

Bogollagama said that the government had no time frame on how long it would take to free the two and half districts that were still under the control of the Tigers. “The result is what we are after,” he said.

Answering a query, he said that “political solution” was demonstrated by the recent elections in the eastern province that was wrested back from the Tigers by the Sri Lankan army.

He refused to indicate if the Sri Lankan army had been given orders to capture LTTE supremo V. Prabhakaran alive or dead. But the minister asserted that a solution to the civil war was not “centred” around an individual.

He also admitted that the army was “closing onto Prabhakaran” as now the LTTE were reined into only two and half districts. He added that the Tamil people had now been empowered to resist the LTTE as demonstrated by the elections.

Bogollagama defended his country’s human rights record and said that it was a vibrant democracy, co-existing with terrorism.

On the recent defeat of Sri Lanka to get elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, he said that the results “was not passing judgement”, but was only a matter of arithmetic.

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