Menon and MR discuss reconciliation

Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon met President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning and discussed a range of issues including reconciliation.

The Indian High Commission quoted Menon as saying his visit was in the context of regular consultations and exchange of views between the Government of India and the Government of Sri Lanka.

“I called on H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning. Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris was also present at the meeting. Thereafter, I met Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development and Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary. I also met the TNA leader Mr. Sampanthan,” he said.

Menon said that he discussed recent developments, bilateral relations and areas of common concern. He was also briefed about steps being taken by the Government of Sri Lanka on political reconciliation and settlement.

“While this is a Sri Lankan issue and something that Sri Lanka has to do, we will continue to remain engaged with all concerned and offer any support required in this regard. India has always stood for a united Sri Lanka within which all citizens can live in equality, justice, dignity and self-respect. We have worked closely with the Government of Sri Lanka on relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs. India’s assistance was appreciated by the Sri Lankan leadership in all my meetings. We remain committed to continue our cooperation,” he said.

Menon also said he discussed the fishermen’s issue and that it was noted that the practical arrangements of October 2008 should be adhered to until an alternative mechanism was agreed upon.

“We agreed that fishermen’s associations on both sides, which had met in the past and reached some understandings, needed to meet again to work on developing this further. This could then serve as the basis for finding a solution to this humanitarian issue,” he said.

On the bilateral front, Menon said that it was noted that most of the Indian-assisted projects were proceeding well and several projects, particularly those relating to the development of railway infrastructure in the Northern and Southern Provinces, were being implemented well ahead of schedule. In the past two years, India has committed US$ 750 million under lines of credit and another US$ 350 million under grants-in-aid. There are a number of other new projects under consideration.