Ranil hails Pranab's handling of ethnic crisis in Lanka

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Chennai, Nov 20 (UNI) Sri Lanka Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinge today hailed the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his deft handling of the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka.

Talking to newspersons here at the Chennai Airport before proceeding to Tiruchirapalli, Mr Wickramasinge said he had a detailed discussion with Mr Mukherjee in New Delhi recently about the problem of the Tamils in the island nation. He also had a discussion with the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) and the Communist Party of India(Marxist) CPI(M) in the issue, he added.

He said in the fishermen issue, had the India and Sri Lanka made on agreement in 2005, the conflicts occurring in the mid-sea with the Lankan Navy time and again could have been averted. '' I do not want to dwell deep into the issue, as it would amount to interference in another country,'' he added.

The former Prime Minister said steps should be taken to solve the problem of civilian community in 'Vanni'. The affected people in the area should be provided with food, cloth and shelter immediately, he added.

He said Tamil National parties and the Muslim parties should forge a three-fold alliance and hold negotiations with the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse to put an end to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

Mr Wickramasinge would visit Tiruvarur Saniswaran temple after reaching Tiruchirapalli and proceed by road to Madurai to offer prayers at Meenakshi temple in the evening. He will come back to Chennai from Madurai by flight before leaving for Sri Lanka at 0100 hrs.

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