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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Basil Rajapaksa visits New Delhi in a bid to bring peace and strong bilateral relations

New Delhi, 06 July, (Asiantribune.com):

Minister Basil Rajapaksa who was on a day’s visit to New Delhi met the Minister of External Affairs of India, Salman Khurshid on 5 July and reached out to fishermen community of Tamil Nadu.

According report received from New Delhi, the two ministers discussed a range of issues of bilateral relevance and reiterated their commitment to strengthening the deep and abiding friendship between India and Sri Lanka.

Minister Khurshid welcomed the proclamation made by the President of Sri Lanka on 5 July to the Commissioner of Elections to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council.

In the meantime, Minister Basil Rajapaksa thanked the Government and the people of India for the consistent support extended to the people of Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern Province and expressed appreciation for the assistance provided in resettlement of displaced persons, demining as well as development assistance which includes fifty-thousand houses, rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai Port and restoration of the northern railway line.

Sri Lankan Minister also thanked the Government of India for the resolute support extended for demilitarisation, development and democratisation of the Northern province.

The External Affairs Minister expressed appreciation of the efforts taken by the Government of Sri Lanka in reconstruction, resettlement, and infrastructure development as well as the steps taken to improve the livelihoods of the people in the Northern Province including rapid strides made in the agriculture sector.

Minister Khurshid stressed the importance of all political parties in Sri Lanka being represented in the Parliamentary Select Committee which has as its objective the resolution of issues relating to constitutional reform and expressed hope that all parties would join the process.

Emphasising the spirit of friendship that underpins India-Sri Lanka relations, Minister Khurshid reiterated India’s support for Sri Lanka in all spheres and the importance of working together closely through regular consultations.

The Minister of External Affairs of India stated that he looks forward to visiting Sri Lanka at an early date.
Also Basil Rajapaksa on Friday reached out to fishermen community of Tamil Nadu and met their delegation in New Delhi with a promise of addressing their concerns.

Minister Basil invited the fishermen to Sri Lanka to meet President Rajapaksa, ministers and representatives of Navy and coast guards to discuss their problems which include alleged killings, arrests and harassment of Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait by Sri Lankan navy.

Through people-to-people contact, the problems can be solved, Basil Rajapaksa told the Tamil Nadu fishermen's delegation.

Devadass and Sesudass, representing the Association, appealed to Rajapaksa to give instructions to the Navy not to disturb or arrest them while fishing in the traditional areas.

They also requested him to release all the fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested by the Lankan navy, Association sources said.

The fishermen's Association functionaries met the minister in the wake of incidents of Tamil fishermen being threatened and arrested by the Lankan navy. The fishermen also charged the Navy men caused damages to their fishing nets and boats.

Meanwhile, all the 49 fishermen from the state, arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 5 while fishing near the Palk Straits and released by the island nation's court a couple of days ago, were handed over to Indian Coast Guard officials at the International Martime Boundary Line on Friday.

Eight fishermen, who were arrested on June 15, were still in Sri Lankan prison, the sources said.

- Asian Tribune -

 Basil Rajapaksa visits  New Delhi in a bid  to bring  peace and strong bilateral relations
Minister Basil Rajapaksa meeting with Representatives of the Fishermens Federation of Tamil Nadu - 5 July
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