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Rajapaksa to visit India on June 8

world Updated: May 16, 2010 14:39 IST
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Rehabilitation and resettlement of Tamil civilians displaced by the civil war came up for discussions when External Affairs Minister S M Krishna met his Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris in Tehran today.

After the meeting, it was announced that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa would visit India on June 8, his first after his re-election in January this year.

"The visit is planned for June 8," Krishna said after the meeting. Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had last met in Thimphu on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit.

The two Ministers also discussed about Rajapaksa's visit.

Krishna and Peiris, who are here for the G15 Summit, met for over 30 minutes and discussed the progress in reconstruction of war-torn areas in the island's north as well as the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

India is assisting Sri Lanka in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged northern areas and has already provided Rs 500 crore to Colombo for this purpose.

Over 2 lakh of the total 2.9 lakh displaced civilians have returned home from camps, where they were lodged after the war. Sri Lanka is taking steps to resettle the remaining 60,000 in their towns and villages.

The two sides agreed that the displaced should be expeditiously rehabilitated with dignity and some source of livelihood, an Indian official said after the meeting.

They also spoke of "productive and constructive phase" with the return of peace in Sri Lanka and quickly launching process of consolidation and reconstruction.

The two sides are also believed to have discussed political settlement that ensures a sense of participation and equity among the ethnic groups. Krishna is also understood to have enquired about the progress in the resettlement of IDPs in northern parts of the country.

"All groups need to be consulted," the official said.

During the meeting, India expressed its desire that since normalcy had returned, the pace of reconstruction needs to be accelerated, the official said.

This is the second meeting between Krishna and Peiris in 20 days. The two had earlier met in Thimphu during the SAARC Summit.

"We had a very good meeting and exchange of views on bilateral relations...India is looking forward to Rajapaksa's visit in the second week of June," the official said.

"India will be very happy to work with Sri Lanka in the reconstruction process," he said.