Monday, November 29, 1999

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa to visit Indian on June 8

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Tehran, May 16 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be visiting India in the second week of June on his first state visit to New Delhi after his re-election as the head of the state.Rajapaksa will begin his three-day India visit from June 8 and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna confirmed this soon after his meeting with his Lankan counterpart GL Peiris in Tehran.The two leaders who are here to take part in the G 15 summit discussed the contours and the agenda of Rajpaksa's forthcoming visit.During the bilateral talks, Krishna and Peiris reviewed the relationship between the two countries, the issue of resettlement of Tamils also came up for discussion and both sides expressed their desire to consolidate the peace process and accelerate the pace of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Tamils.Krishna told ANI: "We have impressed upon them the desirability and urgency of settling the Sri Lankan Tamil minority issue so that once for and all they would concentrate on the future and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister has assured that it is their effort."Peiris said that the resettlement of Tamils is the highest priority of the Sri Lankan Government."We started with about three hundred thousand IDP's which is down to less that 50000 and even out of the fifty thousand, the IDP's keep moving in and out so very considerable progress has been made with regard to that,' he said.Peiris also stressed that Colombo is developing the infrastructure and economy of those areas where displaced Tamils are temporarily settled in order to generate means of their livelihood so that they can lead their life with dignity.He added that Rakpaksa Government is focusing on building infrastructure and generating jobs.Indian and Sri Lankan foreign ministers last met in Thimpu on the sidelines of the SAARC summit. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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