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* Indian parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka holds talks with government
Tue, Apr 17, 2012, 07:09 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 17, Colombo: The visiting Indian parliamentary delegation, arrived in Sri Lanka Monday for a six-day visit, held talks with the Sri Lankan government Tuesday on the post-war development in the conflict-affected North.

The 12-member delegation led by Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the Indian Opposition met with Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris and the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa today (17) at the respective ministries.

Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera, Secretary, Presidential Task Force S.B. Divarathna, and other officials of the Ministry of External Affairs also participated in the discussions, the External Affairs Ministry said.

At the meeting with Minister Rajapaksa the delegation was briefed on the resettlement of the internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the post-war restoration of infrastructure in the war-battered North.

The Minister, informing that all infrastructure facilities such as road, railway line, harbors and airports have been developed and agriculture, fisheries and other economic activities were restored, has suggested the delegation to visit the former Tamil Tiger terrorists' de facto capital of Kilinochchi and observe the progress themselves.

Commending the efforts taken by the Sri Lankan government in resettling the IDPS and physical infrastructure and livelihood development in conflict affected areas the delegation has suggested to create sufficient publicity and public awareness in Tamil Nadu to enlighten the community there on the real situation of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

They have further suggested eliminating the suspicion between two communities for long lasting peace.

The two influential Tamil Nadu political parties Karunanidhi-led DMK and Jayalalithaa-led AIDMK pulled their representatives out of the delegation saying that the exercise is an 'eyewash' and would be a waste of a time.

The delegation also visited the Sri Lankan parliament and met Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as well as other government officials.

The group has also held discussions with a team of Sri Lanka's major Tamil constituent Tamil National Alliance (TNA) headed by the party leader R. Sampanthan today.

The delegation also paid respects to the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) personnel who lost their lives during Sri Lanka's ethnic war at the IPKF memorial in Kotte.

The delegation will also meet the MPs of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the upcountry Tamil Party Ceylon Workers Congress. Both parties are coalition partners of the government.

They are to visit Medawchchiya tomorrow (18) where the Indian government owned IRCON, the company rebuilding the Northern Railway, is based before heading to Mullaitivu to get a firsthand look at the development projects carried out with Indian funding.

On their last day of visit, the delegation is expected to meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa over breakfast.

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