Krishna to meet Lanka FM during SAARC summit

Against the backdrop of the killing of some Tamil fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, India is expected to convey its concerns and press for an end to such incidents during SAARC summit.

Thimphu: Against the backdrop of the killing of some Tamil fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, India is expected to convey its concerns and press for
an end to such incidents when External Affairs Minister SM Krishna meets his counterpart G L Peiris here on Monday.

Krishna and Peiris will be meeting on the sidelines of SAARC Foreign Ministers` conference for which both are arriving here tomorrow, sources told a news agency today.

TS Tirumurti, Joint Secretary in the External Affairs
Ministry who deals with Sri Lankan issues, is also coming here
specifically for the meeting, the sources said.

During the meeting, Krishna is expected to raise the
issue of the recent incidents in which some fishermen were
killed allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy and convey India`s
concerns, the sources said.

Krishna is expected to emphasise that Sri Lankan
forces should desist from using force against the Indian
fishermen to ensure that the relationship is not affected.

He is also likely to seek an update on the
investigation ordered by the Sri Lankan government into these
incidents in which the Lankan Navy had denied its involvement.

The two leaders are expected to discuss steps to
resolve issues related to the fishermen, who are allegedly
fired upon and killed when they trespass into Sri Lankan
territorial waters.

There is a proposal to call a Joint Working Group on
this issue this month and Krishna and Peiris are likely to
discuss this too, the sources said.

A fisherman was killed and two others were injured
while fishing off Kodiakarai coast on January 22, in the
second such incident in a fortnight.

India has been angry at the repeated incidents in
which the Tamil fishermen are killed, saying use of force
against them was "unacceptable" and must be stopped.

"I hope that one thing is certain and one thing is
common that regardless of whatever the circumstances are, use
of force and killing fishermen has to be something part of
history. It cannot be the present and the future. The
Government of India is fully committed (to safeguard the
rights)," Krishna had said last week.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao went to
Colombo to convey India`s concerns to President Mahinda

"The two sides noted that the Joint Statement on
Fishing Arrangements of 26th October 2008, which had put in
place practical arrangements to deal with bona fide fishermen
crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), had
led to a decrease in incidents. They agreed on the need to
discuss arrangements based on the current situation so as to
strengthen the safety and security of the fishermen," said a
joint statement issued after her meetings there.

"Accordingly, it was decided that the next meeting of
the Joint Working Group on Fishing would be convened at an
early date, which would, inter-alia, address various issues
relating to fishing by the two sides.

"The Joint Working Group would also address the
proposed Memorandum of Understanding on development and
cooperation in the field of fisheries. It was decided as well
to enhance and promote contacts between the fishermen`s
associations on both sides, since such contacts have proved to
be mutually beneficial," the statement said.


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