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Rajapaksa, Singh to meet at SAARC summit

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are likely to hold talks during the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Thimpu this week, Sri Lanka's new foreign minister GL Pieris told journalists in Colombo today.

world Updated: Apr 25, 2010 23:45 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are likely to hold talks during the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Thimpu this week, Sri Lanka's new foreign minister GL Pieris told journalists in Colombo on Sunday.

Pieris said Rajapaksa would update Singh on the measures taken by the Sri Lankan government to improve the conditions in Sri Lanka following the end of the war against the Tamil Tigers in May last year.

While nearly two lakh internally displaced Tamils have been released from camps, there are still thousands waiting to return to their places of origin.

Pieris met the press on the eve of his departure to take part in the 16th SAARC Summit and the Council of Ministers, to be held in Bhutan between April 27 and 29.

The minister, appointed by Rajapaksa as foreign minister last week in the new Cabinet, noted that India is Sri Lanka's closest neighbour and added that Rajapaksa will also give a close ear to any concerns that the Indian may have on Sri Lanka.

The new Minister also said that with the improving security situation in the country, the government will gradually relax some of the security related measures taken during the war in order to ensure there is a balance between security and freedom.

"These changes will not be because of external pressure," the Minister emphasised.

A question was raised on Sri Lanka being ‘under attack from the West’ on human rights. Pieris said the new Government would be looking at making appropriate changes to laws that were necessary in times of turbulence.

Elaborating further he said that emergency regulations were also under ‘active consideration’ in this regard. He emphasised that these laws were not made in perpetuity and therefore were “bound to change”.

The Minister added that Sri Lanka would be looking at constant dialogue, engagement and reaching out towards further strengthening its relations with the outside world.

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