Sri Lanka says fishermen issue with India is resolved

Colombo, Feb 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka today expressed"satisfaction" over resolution of the issue of fishermen withIndia, saying it "deeply values" close bilateral relationswith the country.

Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris toldparliament here that the issue of fishermen between India andSri Lanka has been resolved.

"It is a matter of deep satisfaction that we have beenable to receive this matter amicably", Peiris said.

Cataloguing the events including the deaths of twoIndian fishermen blamed on the Sri Lankan Navy in January andthe arrest of Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka, Peiris said thatthe level of relations between the two nation saw to theresolution of the issue.

"Sri lanka deeply values the close bilateral relationswith India", Peiris stressed.

He said the Sri lankan Navy''s non presence at the twolocations where the two shooting incidents of Indian fishermenhad been proved in the Sri Lankan investigations.

"Authorities do have the obligation to prevent theincursions of the international maritime border line", Peirissaid.

Future similar disputes are to be resolved throughtalks, "We proposed to revive the joint working group onfishing".

Peiris'' statement came as the Prime Minister ManmohanSingh told the Rajya Sabha that India had asked Sri lanka notto fire at fishermen.

Sri Lanka on February 18 had released 136 Indianfishermen who were apprehended for allegedly poachingin this country''s waters after India conveyed its deepconcern over their detention and sought their release.

The arrests had triggered protests in Tamil Nadu whereover 5,000 DMK workers, including party MPs Kanimozhi and T KS Elangovan, had been arrested when they tried to takeout a rally to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission.

India had last month accused the Sri Lankan Navy ofkilling at least two Indian fishermen.

This had triggered a flurry of diplomatic activitybetween the two south Asian neighbours following which ForeignSecretary Nirupama Rao visited Colombo to seek assurances toprevent such incidents in future.

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