Mahinda, Manmohan discuss reconciliation, fisheries and devolution

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 00:43 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  Talks on the sidelines of BIMSTEC briefly focus on UNHRC resolution
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in Myanmar for bilateral talks that both sides said had featured reconciliation issues, the fisheries conflict and power sharing with the recently elected Northern Provincial Council. It is the first meeting between the two leaders since Prime Minister Singh decided to boycott the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo last November. Both leaders are attending the BIMSTEC summit in Myanmar.   The President’s Office said President Rajapaksa had briefed the Indian Premier on the Government’s National Action Plan on Reconciliation and the implementation of the LLRC report. President Rajapaksa had said his Government was extending its cooperation to the Northern Provincial Council when Premier Singh had asked about the interaction between the central and provincial government, the statement from President’s Office said. Both sides said the two heads of state had discussed issues pertaining to fishermen in both countries, with Prime Minister Singh requesting the humane treatment of captured Indian fishermen, Indian media reports said. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the two leaders discussed issues pertaining to fishermen, the reconciliation process and UNHRC matters on the margins of the BIMSTEC Summit. The Prime Minister of India did not provide assurances to President Rajapaksa on how India would vote on the upcoming UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka that seeks accountability for crimes committed during the war, India’s Times of India newspaper reported. The resolution had briefly figured during the 25 minute meeting between the two leaders, the reports said. “There was no substantive discussion on the draft resolution. Given that it has important implications for both Sri Lanka and India, it was felt that the two sides should remain in touch on the issue,” Akbaruddin told reporters after the talks. Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid accompanied the Prime Minister for the bilateral discussion. Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Kshenuka Seneviratne and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Myanmar H.R. Piyasiri were also present at the discussions, President’s Office said. (DB)