Menon, Rao heading to Colombo for weekend talks

June 9th, 2011 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Chennai, June 9 (IANS) Amid rising domestic concerns over the humanitarian plight of displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao leave for Colombo Friday for talks with senior leaders to review the progress in the reconciliation process in the northern part of the country.

Menon and Rao are expected to meet, among others, Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris and Foreign Secretary K. Amunugama Saturday. They will call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday, official sources said.

They will seek to know from the Lankan side the steps taken by the leadership to spur the reconciliation process since the end of the civil war in May 2009.

New Delhi is expected to tell Colombo that the reconciliation process has been outlined in the May 17 joint statement issued after talks between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Peiris in New Delhi.

While conveying New Delhi’s message, Menon and Rao, both former envoys to Sri Lanka, are likely to allude to the statement agreed on between Rajapaksa and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May 2009.

“A devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would contribute towards creating the necessary conditions for such reconciliation,” says the Krishna-Peiris statement.

In that meeting, Krishna has urged the expeditious implementation of measures by the Sri Lankan government to “ensure resettlement and genuine reconciliation, including early return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their homes, early withdrawal of emergency regulations, investigations into allegations of human rights violations, restoration of normalcy in affected areas and redress of humanitarian concerns of the affected families.” This message will be reinforced by Menon and Rao.

The continuing outrage over the killing of Indian fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy personnel will also figure in the discussions.

Menon Thursday called on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in Chennai, a day after the state assembly passed a unanimous resolution demanding the imposition of economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. The resolution had suggested sanctions by India to “rein in” Colombo on the Tamils issue and pitched for prompt rehabilitation of the displaced Tamils.

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