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It is my responsibility to look after my Tamil brethren

Prabhakaran is exporting terrorism

President tells Indian PM and media:

Tamil people are my concern

INDIA: President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday told Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh that the Government was ready to talk peace with the LTTE at any time if the latter lays down arms.

In bilateral talks with the Indian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC Summit, President Rajapaksa said his primary aim was to eradicate terrorism and create a country where all communities can live in peace.

The President said his Government is fully committed to fulfil the humanitarian needs of the Tamil community living in the North and East.

The President told the Indian Prime Minister that the Tamil people are very much part of his responsibility as Head of State and Government and he would take all measures for their safety, security and welfare.

The Indian Premier expressed his appreciation to President Rajapaksa for having sent to Delhi at the end of last month as Special Envoy, his senior advisor and Member of Parliament Basil Rajapaksa.

The Prime Minister added that the discussions on that occasion had been most constructive and that he valued the facilitatory arrangements expeditiously put in place by the Government of Sri Lanka for the distribution of relief to the civilian population in the affected districts of the Northern Province, a Foreign Ministry release stated.

Having taken note of the Resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu State Assembly on November 12 calling for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, the President emphasised that he and his administration has always been for a political solution.

It is the LTTE that repeatedly violated its obligations and embarked on a path of conflict and terror. The President also drew attention to the past track record of the LTTE using the ceasefire to regroup and re-arm and not serious about a political solution.

Accordingly the Government would only talk to the outfit if it first lays down arms.

“As we liberated the people in the East from terrorism their counterparts in the North too would be rescued. The war against terrorism would be prosecuted as planned,” the President reiterated.

After the bilateral talks with the Indian Prime Minister, the President addressing the media said the Sri Lankan Government is fully committed to safeguard the rights of the Tamil community.

“The Tamil people are my concern. It is my responsibility to look after my Tamil brethren.”

“The youth in the Eastern Province who were under the LTTE jackboot for years, have today embraced democracy.

A hard core LTTE leader in the East has become a member of the Sri Lankan Parliament today,” the President pointed out.

He said: “Prabhakaran was today exporting terrorism.”

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Foreign Ministry Additional Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam also participated.

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