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With peace on agenda, Pranab heads for Sri Lanka

January 27, 2009 09:34 IST

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External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee [Images] will rush to Sri Lanka [Images] on Tuesday where the military claims to have captured Mullaittivu -- the last bastion of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam -- of two days back.

During the two-day visit, Mukherjee will meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and discuss the latest situation in the northern part of the island nation, sources said.

Mukherjee is expected to impress upon Rajapaksa government the need for finding a political solution to the ethnic problem to ensure lasting peace.

He is also expected to press for early implementation of the devolution package to ensure that the ethnic Tamils get rights and privileges at par with others.

India has been maintaining that military victory will not address the ethnic problem facing Sri Lanka and that the government there needed to look for a political settlement wherein all communities, including ethnic Tamils, can live with respect and dignity within united Sri Lanka.

Mukherjees's visit comes in the back drop of strong demands by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and some other parties from the state that the external affairs minister should visit Sri Lanka and prevail upon Rajapaksa government to go for ceasefire.

During the recent weeks, Sri Laknan army has made rapid progress in its campaign to capture areas under the LTTE [Images] control. The military claimed on Sunday to have captured the garrison town of Mullaittivu, the last urban stronghold of the LTTE asserting that the 25-year-long ethnic conflict was now "95 per cent over".

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