India for genuine political reconciliation

A visiting delegation of Indian legislators on Saturday said that they have urged Sri Lanka to go for genuine political reconciliation.

Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of a six day trip to Sri Lanka, the head of the delegation Indian opposition leader Sushma Suwaraj said that they were satisfied with the visit and rubbished claims it did not meet its purpose.

Suwaraj said that the delegation was satisfied with the pace of the development and reconstruction work undertaken by the Sri Lankan government of the war battered areas in the north and east of the country.

However she noted there still remain issues which need to be addressed including the resettlement of some 6000 war displaced people who remain in displacement camps and the resumption of talks aimed at reaching a political settlement.

“We have urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to end the stalemate in talks with the Tamil National Alliance. The government must persuade the Tamil National Alliance to resume talks. We made the same appeal to the Tamil National Alliance. We also emphasized that there needs to be devolution of power,” Suwaraj said.

Two key political parties from Tamil Nadu in southern India, the AIDMK and DMK, withdrew their members from the Indian delegation which toured Sri Lanka saying they visit will not address concerns raised in India about Sri Lankan Tamils.

However Suwaraj said if possible she will convey to AIDMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jeyalalitha Jeyaram that the visit to Sri Lanka was not a tourist visit and that it did serve its purpose.

The delegation on Saturday met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed Indian concerns on post war Sri Lanka including demilitarization of the north.

On Friday the delegation met the Eastern Province Chief Minister and former Tamil Tiger rebel Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan who had called for the implementation of an accord inked between India and Sri Lanka in 1987.

Chandrakanthan, who was a member of the Tamil Tigers before he defected in 2004, told the Indian delegation when they visited the east that India has a responsibility to ensure the agreement is now implemented.