PM to Sri Lanka: Use of force on fishermen not acceptable

The two leaders also discussed the speedy resettlement of Tamils displaced by armed conflict with the LTTE.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2011, 08:20 AM IST

On Board Air India One: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said he had conveyed to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the use of force in dealing with fishermen is unacceptable and pushed for a joint working group to resolve the issue.

"We explained this to President Rajapaksa and he agreed that the use of force to deal with Indian fishermen is totally unacceptable, that it is a human problem and it must be dealt in a humane manner," Manmohan Singh said while referring to bilateral talks he had with Rajapaksa in the Maldives on the sidelines of the SAARC summit on Thursday.

The Prime Minister said he also discussed various options like growing involvement of fishermen of two countries in discussing their mutual problems. "We agreed that the working group should accelerate its work."

The two leaders also discussed the speedy resettlement of Tamils displaced by armed conflict with the LTTE.

"Principally, my concern was with regard to resettlement of internally displaced Tamil refugees, and the treatment of fishermen. President Rajapaksa gave me assurances that Sri Lanka will and has been moving forward," he said.

"How far that satisfies the common public opinion, there is now a structured dialogue between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance and also there is a Parliamentary Select Committee which has been appointed to go into this question of what can be done to find a permanent political and acceptable solution to the Tamil problem."

Rajapaksa conveyed to Manmohan Singh that there are still about 7,000 IDPs awaiting resettlement and steps would be taken to ensure their rehabilitation.

Manmohan Singh also took note of steps by Sri Lanka to find a political solution to the Tamil issue like a structured dialogue between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance.

Manmohan Singh also mentioned a Parliamentary Select Committee which has been appointed to go into the question of what can be done to find a permanent political and acceptable solution to the Tamil problem.

IANS