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Nirupama assures TN CM on Lankan Tamils | Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao

[Express Buzz, Thursday, 19 August 2010 09:29 No Comment]

Underlining its determination to accelerate the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka, India on Wednesday said the spirit of both nations working together was "vitally important".

"We are determined to accelerate the pace. We want to work faster," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here after calling on Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to discuss rehabilitation of IDPs.

India and Sri Lanka are close neighbours brought together by geography, history and current events in that country, she said adding, "the spirit of working together is vitally important."

Asked whether India was "disappointed" at the pace of work as it was a major donor, Rao said constant communication was on with the Sri Lankan Government to "further the goals that we would like to see achieved".

Recalling Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s recent visit to India, she said it was a useful one, where a lot of issues pertaining to the Sri Lankan Tamils were discussed between leaders of the two countries.

With the end of conflict between the Lankan army and the LTTE, the focus was now on rehabilitation and restoration of livelihood and "satisfactory settlement" of people, especially in the northern part, she said.

On India’s two proposed Consulate General offices in Sri Lanka, the Foreign Secretary said one would come up at Jaffna this year and the other in the southern city of Humbuntota.

These measures will enable India assess the needs of people better, she said.

Rao said India wanted to see the re-creation of "natural affinity" between the Tamils of two countries which was "disrupted due to the civil war".

She said she discussed with Karunanidhi the current situation in Sri Lanka, with particular reference to rehabilitation of displaced persons.

"The Government of India has been consulting with the state on helping the displaced, their rehabilitation, addressing of problems relating to agriculture and restoration of institutes like hospitals and school," she said.

India had an extensive assistance programme for the northern province, she said, adding New Delhi was committed to building 50,000 homes for the IDPs in Sri Lanka.

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