Centre announces second set of humanitarian aid war-hit civilians in Sri Lanka

 
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Colombo, Jan.16 (ANI): The Government of India on Friday a second set of humanitarian aid for the war-affected civilians in Sri Lanka's northern region.The announcement coincides with the visit of Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon who arrived here on Thursday.

The Indian High Commission stated that India would "continue to work with Sri Lanka in meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilian population" in that country's north.

"India has decided on a second instalments of such assistance amounting to approximately Rs.40 million (Sri Lankan)," the brief statement added.

Shivshankar Menon handed over a consignment of medicines to senior presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa at a simple ceremony here.

India, late last year, had supplied food and other relief goods for civilians and those displaced by the war in Sri Lanka amid demands from the Tamil Nadu political parties urging New Delhi to help end the fighting.

The 1,700 tonnes of 80,000 ready-to-use family packs containing food, clothing and personal hygiene items have since been distributed.

On Saturday, Menon is likely to have a meet with the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the central hill town of Kandy and discuss issues of bilateral interest and exchange views on the situation in the Sri Lankan north.

Menon is also scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, said a foreign ministry official.

He is also expected to meet opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and leaders of key Tamil and Muslim parties.

Sri Lankan military is continuing to advance in the coutnry's north to dislodge the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from its last remaining stronghold of Mullaitivu district.

Although officials described his visit as routine, it comes a few days after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi again urged New Delhi "to step up measures" to end the conflict in Sri Lanka.

The state-run Daily News under the headline "Welcome" carried the photograph of Menon on its front page, highlighting the importance of his visit in Colombo on Friday and Saturday. (ANI)

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