Sri Lanka assures India of speedy rehabilitation of displaced Tamils

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New Delhi, June 9 (ANI): Sri Lanka on Wednesday assured India of expediting the rehabilitation of remaining internally displaced persons (IDPs).

"During their meet, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was apprised about the measures taken by the Sri Lankan Government to bring about a rapid and sustainable resettlement of the bulk of the IDPs. It was stated that the process of resettling the limited number still remaining in the transit facilities would be further expedited," a joint statement said after bilateral talks held between India and Sri Lanka today.

"Both leaders agreed on the urgent need for the resettlement of the remaining IDPs, along with speedy rehabilitation, reconstruction and development in the North and the East of Sri Lanka. They agreed to work closely towards this end," the statement added.

Sri Lanka, in this context, greatly appreciated India's assistance to rebuild infrastructure, including railway infrastructure and set up several Vocational Training Centres.

Besides, it also appreciated Indian assistance in repairing and constructing schools, houses, stadium and recreational facilities, supplying much-needed inputs for agricultural regeneration and undertaking several other projects.

President Rajapaksa warmly welcomed the offer of Indian support for this programme.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dr. Singh congratulated President Rajapaksa on his recent electoral victories and conveyed that the recent elections, together with the cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka in May 2009, provided a historic opportunity for the country's leaders to address all outstanding issues in a spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation and to work towards genuine national reconciliation.

Dr. Singh emphasised that a meaningful devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would create the necessary conditions for a lasting political settlement.

President Rajapaksa reiterated his determination to evolve a political settlement acceptable to all communities that would act as a catalyst to create the necessary conditions in which all the people of Sri Lanka could lead their lives in an atmosphere of peace, justice and dignity, consistent with democracy, pluralism, equal opportunity and respect for human rights.

Dr. Singh expressed India's constructive support for efforts that build peace and reconciliation among all communities in Sri Lanka.

President Rajapaksa during his meet with the Indian PM appreciated India's substantial and generous assistance including through a grant of Rupees 500 crore for the humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

"The steps taken by India for humanitarian assistance, including supply of family packs of food and clothing, medicines, setting up of a field hospital and an artificial limb fitment camp and for the resettlement of IDPs, including provision of shelter material, cement bags and agricultural implements and deployment of de-mining teams, were important and timely," President Rajapaksa noted. (ANI)

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