Mukherjee not to visit Sri Lanka immediately

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New Delhi, Oct 20 (UNI) India today denied reports that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would visit Sri Lanka to assess the situation and discuss the vexed Tamil issue with the leadership of the troubled neighbouring country.

''No dates have been set. Nothing is fixed,'' Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told mediapersons, in response to reports that Mr Mukherjee would visit the island nation soon to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama in the context of building pressure on the government over the Sri Lankan issue.

Mr Menon said a high-level delegation from Sri Lanka was likely to visit here for discussions. ''Once the delegation visits here, then we will take a call.'' ''It is a humanitarian crisis. It affects the ethnic Tamil population. That is something we need to address,'' he said, while adding that ''settling the conflict and buying peace should be achieved politically and not militarily. That is the way we look at the problem.'' Asked about the shortage of medicines and food in the affected ethnic Tamil areas, Mr Menon said several convoys had gone with the supplies of these materials. ''We are working with the United Nations and the Red Cross and other organisations.'' UNI SH RR BD2010

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