Indian FM meets minority parties
[TamilNet, Monday, 12 June 2000, 12:00 GMT]
The Indian Foreign Minister Mr.Jaswant Singh held separate meetings with the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a group comprising representatives of three hill country Tamil parties and five ex-Tamil militant groups at India House, the official residence of the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Monday Afternoon. The brief discussions mainly centered around India's role as a mediator, devolution, the plight of civilians in the war zone and the need for a ceasefire. Mr. Singh reaffirmed India's stand on the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka to the Tamil and Muslim delegations during his discussions with the minority parties this afternoon.
The TULF and the ex-Tamil militant groups had told Mr. Singh that the Indian government should try to bring about a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers and actively consider the plight of the civilians caught in the war zones of Jaffna. They had also urged that the Indian government should play a critical mediatory role in resolving the conflict in Sri Lanka.
The Indian foreign Minister had told them that India will mediate only if requested to do so by the Sri Lankan political community.
The ex-Tamil militant groups told Mr.Singh that India should prevail on the Sri Lankan government and the opposition United National Party to reach a consensus on a devolution package. The Indian FM informed the ex-Tamil militant leaders that the Sri Lankan President had told him that constitutional reform plan would be ready before elections to the Parliament this year.
The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon was present at the meetings. The TULF was represented by its general secretary Mr. R.Sambandan MP, Vice President of the party Mr. V. Aanandasangari, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham MP and Mr. Raviraj.
The ex-Tamil militant groups that met the Indian FM this afternoon are the PLOTE, EPDP, the Perumal and Suresh factions of the EPRLF and the TELO.