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Foreign Secy Menon in Colombo to discuss Lanka crisis

Written by: Staff
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Colombo, Nov 23: Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon arrived here late last night on a two-day visit to hold extensive discussions with the Sri Lankan government on the escalating violence that has left over 3000 people killed and several displaced since December last year.

Mr Menon, who had served in Colombo as the Indian High Commissioner in the recent past, is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Foreign Ministry officials, head of the government Peace Secretariat, Dr Palitha Kohona and leader of the main opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe today.

He is also scheduled to call on President Mahinda Rajapakse later in the day, diplomatic sources here said.

The Indian Foreign Secretary will hold talks with Colombo barely a few days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a reply letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said he was "equally concerned for the human tragedy in Sri Lanka".

Although media speculations are rife that Mr Menon is endorsing "a special message", there was no official confirmation.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had commented on November 9 that "the time is now ripe to rethink and find an answer to the Sri Lankan crisis".

Condemning the Sri Lankan Army for going on "the rampage", Mr Karunanidhi said "apart from the aerial bombing, the Sri Lankan Armed Forces fired missiles, resulting in heaps of dead bodies of hundreds of children." Mr Karunanidhi had also rushed his Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu to meet Dr Singh, requesting the Indian Prime Minister's 'immediate and appropriate intervention' in the matter and to 'put an end to such unprovoked and indiscriminate offensives of the Sri Lankan Army'.

UNI

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