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Political solution only way out in SL crisis, says India
February 21, 2009 20:33 IST
India on Saturday expressed concern over the latest turn of events in Sri Lanka [Images], particularly the air raids by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam aircraft over Colombo, and appealed to the government and the militant organisation to come to a peaceful negotiated settlement.
"An LTTE [Images] plane has been shot down. This is of concern. Political solution has to be found to the LTTE issue and military action will not do," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukhjerjee told reporters. He added that a political solution to the conflict 'was the only way out'
"The two sides should sit across the table for a negotiated settlement of the issue. For that, a congenial and peaceful atmosphere has to be created. Till that is not forthcoming, attacks and counter-attacks will continue to hit the country," he said.
Stating that India's stand was 'very clear', Mukherjee said "we are concerned. We are concerned for the huge Sri Lankan Tamil population which has been caught in the crossfire. They are being killed and their normal life is seriously affected."
He said India would appeal to Colombo to ensure that the rights of the minority Tamils were protected.
Recalling the treaty signed in 1987 between the then Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga [Images] and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi [Images], Mukherjee said, "The decisions made in that treaty should be implemented. The decision for decentralisation of power and more powers to the provincial council should be followed."
Mukherjee said the Tamils and other ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka must have an arrangement where their legitimate aspirations should be fulfilled within the framework of the Sri Lankan Constitution without affecting the territorial unity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
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