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Indian NSA, Foreign Secretary meet Rajapaksa

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoys M K Narayanan and Shivshankar Menon on Thursday met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and sought a political solution to the Tamil question while offering help in the reconstruction effort following elimination of the LTTE.

world Updated: May 21, 2009 12:41 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoys M K Narayanan and Shivshankar Menon on Thursday met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and sought a political solution to the Tamil question while offering help in the reconstruction effort following elimination of the LTTE.

National Security Adviser Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Menon, who arrived here yesterday, met Rajapaksa at a close door breakfast meeting at his Temple Trees residence.

Details of the meeting were not announced, but an official source said they discussed post-conflict reconstruction in Sri Lanka following the defeat of the LTTE.

The sources said India had offered help in the reconstruction effort while nudging the government for a political solution to the Tamil question as promised by the President himself in his address to parliament on Tuesday.

India has prepared a Rs 500 crore rehabilitation package for the displaced people in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister has already announced a Rs 100-crore relief package for Lankan Tamils in addition to the Rs 25 crore aid given by Tamil Nadu government.

India has been asking Sri Lanka to take political steps to ensure "effective devolution of power" so that Tamils in the island nation could live with dignity.

Reaching out to the Tamils during an address to Parliament on Tuesday, Rajapaksa had said their protection was the responsibility of his government.

"Our intention was to save the Tamil people from the cruel grip of the LTTE. We all must now live as equals in this free country," he had said.

"We must find a homegrown solution to this conflict. That solution should be acceptable to all the communities," Rajapaksa had said, adding that "solution to the Tamil issue will be found but not under international pressure."

"We have to build a united Sri Lanka where all can live with equal rights," he said.

Sri Lanka has declared victory over the LTTE -- which had been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils -- after eliminating the top leadership including Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran and seizing all the Tiger territory in the north.