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India, Sri Lanka agree:

Time opportune for rehabilitation, resettlement, re-conciliation

India and Sri Lanka agreed that with the end of military operations in Sri Lanka, the time was opportune to focus attention on issues of relief, rehabilitation, resettlement and re- conciliation including a permanent political solution in Sri Lanka.

This follows discussions held by visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Indian National Security Advisor M K Narayanan with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and senior officials, including Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa MP, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Following their agreement of October 26, 2008, both sides have been co-operating in providing humanitarian relief and assistance to IDPs in Sri Lanka.

This includes medical assistance in the form of a field hospital, urgently needed medicines and medical supplies as well as food, clothing and shelter material.

Both sides emphasized the urgent need to resettle the IDPs in their villages and towns of habitation and to provide to them basic and civil infrastructure as well as means of livelihood to resume their normal lives at the earliest possible.

To this end, the Government of Sri Lanka indicated that it was their intention to dismantle the welfare villages at the earliest and outlined a 180 day plan to re-settle the bulk of IDPs to their original places of habitation.

The Government of India committed to provide all possible assistance in the implementation of such a plan in areas such as de-mining, provision of civil infrastructure and re-construction of houses. All these activities will be implemented in close consultation and co-operation with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Both sides also emphasized the urgent necessity of arriving at a lasting political settlement in Sri Lanka. To this, the Government of Sri Lanka indicated that it will proceed with implementation of the 13th Amendment.

Further, the Government of Sri Lanka also intends to begin a broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil parties, in the new circumstances, for further enhancement of political arrangements to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

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