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* India agrees to release 85 Sri Lankan fishermen, says need a long-term solution to the issue
Wed, May 28, 2014, 12:38 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 28, Colombo: Leaders of Sri Lanka and India have agreed that a long-term solution for the fishermen's issue is needed and agreed that the fishermen's talks should continue.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to address the issue when they met Tuesday morning in New Delhi, India's Foreign Secretary Ms. Sujatha Singh said at the press briefing following the Indian PM's meetings with the eight leaders who attended his swearing-in ceremony Monday.

Responding to media, Ms. Singh said both leaders agreed that the issue need to be addressed and talks should continue.

"There was agreement between the two leaders that we need a long-term solution towards this because the fishermen's issue is a livelihood issue, whether it is for our Tamils or the Tamils in Sri Lanka. So, they both agreed that this needed to be addressed, and that we should encourage the fishermen's talks to go on ahead, and we should try every means to find a solution."

During the meeting Prime Minister Modi has conveyed to the Sri Lankan President that India reciprocating Sri Lanka's gesture would release 85 Sri Lankan fishermen who are lodged in different jails in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Times of India reported.

President Rajapaksa ordered to release all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody as a goodwill measure on the occasion of Modi's swearing-in as the new Prime Minister of India.

Sri Lanka has no Indian fishermen in custody for poaching but 14 fishermen are in jails on drug smuggling charges. Sri Lanka released all the fishermen charged of poaching before the talks between the fishermen on the two sides took place earlier this month.

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