Military operation to disarm LTTE, restore stability: Rajapaksa tells Manmohan (Lead)

October 18th, 2008 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghColombo, Oct 18 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a telephone conversation Saturday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, clarified that the military operation in the island’s north was meant to “disarm the LTTE and restore democracy, peace and stability in the region”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.”President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a telephone discussion today with Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, during which he briefed the Indian leader on the current situation in the North, where the security forces are engaged in an operation to disarm the LTTE and restore democracy, peace and stability to the region,” the foreign ministry statement said.

Briefing the Indian prime minister, who has already voiced India’s concerns over the protection of civilians caught up in the war, Rajapaksa “reiterated that the security forces are under strict instructions to avoid causing any civilian casualties, during this operation”, the statement said.

“He also informed Dr. Singh that Sri Lanka is mindful and appreciative of the concerns of India regarding the situation in the North, and aware of the context in which these matters have been raised,” the statement said, adding that both leaders had agreed to maintain a dialogue “at a high political level”.

Consequent to this discussion, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollgama has invited Indian f External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee “to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka at an early date”.

The foreign ministry statement came a barely hours after the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a statement on the telephonic conversation between the two leaders.

The PMO statement said Manmohan Singh had reiterated yet again that there was “no military solution” to the conflict and urged the Sri Lankan leader “to start a political process for a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka”.

But the foreign ministry statement made no reference to these two key issues.

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