Text of Pranab Mukherjee's statement on fishermen 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.

''Keeping in mind the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of the fishermen issue, India and Sri Lanka have agreed to put in place practical arrangements to deal with bonafide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

This was agreed to during the visit to New Delhi on 26 October 2008 of Honourable Basil Rajapakse, Member of Parliament and Senior Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka.

As part of these practical arrangements, following the designation by the Government of Sri Lanka of sensitive areas along the Sri Lankan coastline and their intimation to the Government of India, Indian fishing vessels will not venture into these identified sensitive areas. Further, there will be no firing on Indian fishing vessels.

It was agreed that Indian fishing vessels would carry valid registration and permit and the fishermen would have on person valid identity cards issued by the Government of Tamil Nadu.

India and Sri Lanka have agreed to continue with their discussions, initiated in 2005, on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding on development and cooperation in the field of fisheries.

UNI GV SK KP2008

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