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* Arrest of Sri Lankan fishermen will not hinder planned talks with Indian fishermen - official
Sat, May 10, 2014, 10:39 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 10, Colombo: Arrest of 31 Sri Lankan fishermen by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on May 7 will not hinder the talks between the fishermen of the two countries scheduled to begin on Monday, a senior government official said.

The second round of fishermen level talks between the fishermen of the two sides will be held on 12th and 13th of May, 2014 in Colombo.

Fisheries Ministry spokesman Narendra Rajapaksa said told the PTI arrest of Sri Lankan fishermen and their five boats in Andhra Pradesh would not hinder the talks.

"The talks would happen on May 12 as planned and we await the arrival of delegates," he said.

The official said the Fisheries Ministry had already opened diplomatic channels through the Sri Lankan mission in Chennai to seek the release of those held in Andhra Pradesh as the procedure in that state is more rigid.

After the successful talks at the first round held on January 27 this year in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu State government fixed March 25th date for the second round of talks, which were originally scheduled to be held on March 13th in Colombo.

However, the talks got postponed since Sri Lanka did not release all the Indian fishermen and their boats detained in Sri Lanka before the talks as the Tamil Nadu government demanded.

Sri Lanka released all 98 fishermen of Tamil Nadu and handed over their 23 boats after President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered their immediate release as a goodwill gesture towards India for abstaining from voting for the third UN resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva in March. India voted against Sri Lanka for the previous two UN resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013.

** Related Story :: Sri Lanka, India fishermen level talks on May 12

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