Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon's visit to Colombo was part of the preparations for the proposed visit of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to hold talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on solving the ethnic issue in the island, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KV Thankgabalu said on Sunday.
"There are some formalities before the meeting of External Affairs and the President of Sri Lanka could take place and Menon's visit was to make arrangements for that," he told reporters at the party office in Chennai. "Mukherjee will meet the Sri Lankan President," he said.
Though the war was between LTTE and army, innocent Tamils were being affected every day and a permanent solution keeping their interest in mind should be evolved, he said.
"We will take all possible steps for safegaurding the lives of Tamils living in Sri Lanka," he said adding military solution was not a suitable remedy for solving the issue.
Stating that Congress favoured a negotiated settlement to the ethnic issue, he said "no decision can be taken in one or two days. The issue has been there for the last 50 years."
Reacting to Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan's remarks that Menon's visit was a 'drama', Thankgabalu said it may be his opinion.
He said Thirumavalavan, who is on an indefinite fast demanding Centre's intervention in Sri Lanka, should call off the agitation. The issue should not be used as a tool to promote one single party's interests. All parties should come together to bring out a suitable solution to the ethnic issue.
"Considering that innocent Tamils are being affected, all parties should come together and find a solution to the issue," he said.