Singh, Mahinda discuss IDPs

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday discussed with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa India’s concerns on the plight of displaced Tamils and pressed for a political settlement of the decades-old ethnic issue in the island country.

The two leaders also discussed a host of bilateral and global issues, including an expansion of economic ties and increased cooperation in areas of development and counter-terrorism, said official sources.

Rajapaksa began his state visit to India with a ceremonial reception accorded to him at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna called on the visiting Sri Lankan leader and discussed issues relating to rehabilitation of nearly 300,000 war displaced Tamils and political resettlement plan for Tamil and Muslim minorities in the island country.

Rajapaksa arrived in India on a four-day visit Tuesday evening, his first trip to New Delhi since being re-elected Sri Lanka’s president in January this year.

Over a year after the Sri Lankan troops militarily crushed the insurgency led by Tamil Tigers, around 80,000 displaced Tamils continue to live in relief camps.

Although the Sri Lankan government had promised to resettle all 300,000 war displaced within six months of defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Sri Lankan government has now set August as the deadline for closure of relief camps housing the refugees. (IANS)

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