Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa told India's visiting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that he has invited Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and AIDMK leader J. Jayalalitha to Sri Lanka to persuade the Tamil Tiger rebels to lay down their arms and enter into the democratic mainstream.
"After our conversation, President Rajapaksa was good enough to extend a personal invitation to an all-party delegation from Tamil Nadu led by Chief Minister Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha to see for themselves the situation on the ground and to persuade the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to lay down arms and join the democratic mainstream," Mukherjee told Indian journalist here shortly before midnight Tuesday.
Mukherjee, who made an unscheduled visit to Colombo on Tuesday, said the humanitarian situation in the northern war-zone was discussed and President Rajapaksa assured him that his government would work to minimise the civilian sufferings.
"We also reviewed the humanitarian situation as a result of the conflict. The Sri Lankan government has reassured that they would respect the safe zones and minimize the effects of conflict on Tamil civilians. As you know, India has extended its relief supplies to civilians caught up in the conflict zone and intends to continue doing so," he added.