Krishna to meet Lanka FM, fishermen issue to figure in talks

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Ajay Kaul

Thimphu, Feb 6 (PTI) Against the backdrop of thekilling of some Tamil fishermen allegedly by the Sri LankanNavy, India is expected to convey its concerns and press foran end to such incidents when External Affairs Minister S MKrishna meets his counterpart G L Peiris here tomorrow.

Krishna and Peiris will be meeting on the sidelines ofSAARC Foreign Ministers'' conference for which both arearriving here tomorrow, sources told PTI today.

T S Tirumurti, Joint Secretary in the External AffairsMinistry who deals with Sri Lankan issues, is also coming herespecifically for the meeting, the sources said.

During the meeting, Krishna is expected to raise theissue of the recent incidents in which some fishermen werekilled allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy and convey India''sconcerns, the sources said.

Krishna is expected to emphasise that Sri Lankanforces should desist from using force against the Indianfishermen to ensure that the relationship is not affected.

He is also likely to seek an update on theinvestigation ordered by the Sri Lankan government into theseincidents in which the Lankan Navy had denied its involvement.

The two leaders are expected to discuss steps toresolve issues related to the fishermen, who are allegedlyfired upon and killed when they trespass into Sri Lankanterritorial waters.

There is a proposal to call a Joint Working Group onthis issue this month and Krishna and Peiris are likely todiscuss this too, the sources said.

A fisherman was killed and two others were injuredwhile fishing off Kodiakarai coast on January 22, in thesecond such incident in a fortnight.

India has been angry at the repeated incidents inwhich the Tamil fishermen are killed, saying use of forceagainst them was "unacceptable" and must be stopped.

"I hope that one thing is certain and one thing iscommon that regardless of whatever the circumstances are, useof force and killing fishermen has to be something part ofhistory. It cannot be the present and the future. TheGovernment of India is fully committed (to safeguard therights)," Krishna had said last week.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao went toColombo to convey India''s concerns to President MahindaRajapaksa. .

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