Text of Pranab Mukherhjee's statement on Lankan issue

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Chennai, Oct 26 (UNI) The following is the text of the statement released by AICC President Sonia Gandhi's Emissary and Union External Affairs Minister (EAM) Pranab Mukherjee after a 90-minute-long meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi here this evening.

''The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu emphasised the need of ensuring ceasefire to continue what preceeded earlier at the initiative of Norway.

''The External Affairs Minister pointed out he himself stated in Parliament that military solution will not resolve the problem of the ethnic minority in Sri Lanka.

Real devolution of power as agreed upon by the high-powered committee should be implemented without any further delay. The Sri Lankan Government has also assured to provide humanitarian relief to the distressed Tamil people of about two lakhs in the conflict area through agencies like ICR, United Nations and the Government of India.

Government of India will also provide 800 tonnes of relief materials.

Tamil Nadu Government will also collect and send relief materials to the affected Tamil refugees.

The Sri Lankan Government will assist and facilitate despatch of humanitarian GOI relief supplies through convoys to the Northern Sri Lanka for civilians affected by the fighting on a continuous basis.

The Special Envoy assured, when pressed by EAM, that President Rajapakse will himself take charge of the political package and push it through politically.

EAM stressed that this should be done as soon as possible.EAM stressed the need for increased devolution to the Eastern Province which would create confidence and resettlement efforts in areas cleared of the LTTE.

Mr Basil Rajpakse (Advisor to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and Special Envoy) promised to establish a committee to benchmark what can be done.

UNI GV GM SK HT2009

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