|Minister Bogollagama briefs Indian counterpart on developments in Sri Lanka|
|Wednesday, 01 October 2008 22:47|
On the sidelines of the 63rd UNGA in New York today (1st October 2008), Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama discussed with the External Affairs Minister of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, several issues of bilateral importance.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama outlined the developments in the North of Sri Lanka, in particular the ongoing security forces activity to free the civilians in the Vanni from the LTTE hold, as wdequate humanitarian supplies are being provided through the Government Agents for the displaced people in the North, with hundreds of truck loads of supplies being dispatched to the Vanni.
Referring to the action taken by the Government in restoring democracy in the Eastern province in the immediate aftermath of clearing the area from LTTE control, the Minister said that the priority now is to focus on development activities in the East including rehabilitating the Agriculture sector which had been abandoned over the years. US$ 1.8 billion development programme is underway in the East.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama also briefed his counterpart on the steps afoot with a view to devolving substantial powers to the Northern and Eastern provinces in accordance with the 13th Amendment. The Government is waiting for further recommendation in this regard from the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), he said. In the meantime, the Government under the direction of President Rajapaksa has already implemented several of the key recommendations of the interim report of the APRC including promotion of the use of Tamil language and recruitment of Tamil police personnel to the police service in the Eastern Province.
In the discussion on the safety of civilians engaged in fisheries activities in the waters between the two countries, the two Ministers agreed on the need for a joint action plan including coordinated coast guard patrolling, to prevent any future incidents affecting the safety of fishermen.
The two Ministers also discussed the convening of the India–Sri Lanka Joint Commission this year and the forthcoming BIMSTEC meeting.
The Minister of External Affairs Shri Mukherjee appreciated the excellent hospitality extended during the SAARC Summit hosted in Colombo and for hosting the Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers on the fringes of the 63rd UNGA in New York.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN
1st October 2008