Monday, October 27, 2008

DMK roll back quit Threat

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, emerging out of a meeting he had with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on yesterday, said that the talks they had over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue had been satisfactory and it had brought enough hope to the people of Tamil Nadu on the ethnic issue.
Mukherjee, who had flown in from Delhi to brief Karunanidhi about the latest political developments on the Lankan Tamils’ issue, however, told reporters after the meeting that India could not ask for a ceasefire in Lanka as it would amount to interfering in the internal affairs of another country.
“India is not a party to the ceasefire,’’ he said by way of replying to Karunanidhi’s demand for ensuring the ceasefire.
Mukherjee said Karunanidhi had also assured him that he would not embarrass the UPA government by asking the DMK MPs, including ministers from Tamil Nadu to quit over the issue.
The External Affairs Minister said his meeting with Lankan Special Envoy Basil Rajapaksa, earlier in Delhi, had been fruitful as it had given the indication for a package to be pushed through politically by the Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa towards ending the ethnic conflict in the island nation.
When asked about the military assistance extended to the Lankan Government, he said that only non-lethal equipment like radars had been installed near the territorial waters bordering India and Lanka. On the reported training extended to Lankan soldiers in India, Mukherjee denied any such training being given to the Lankan army.
Mukherjee said he had stressed the need for increased devolution of power in the Eastern Province in Lanka by creating confidence and increasing resettlement efforts in areas cleared by the LTTE. The Lankan Government would assist and facilitate dispatch of 800 tonnes of relief material from the Union Government to Tamil civilians, he said.
Karunanidhi said that the Lankan conflict could not be resolved in four days as it had been there for well over four decades. The Chief Minister noted that India could seek the help of other countries to bring ceasefire in the areas of conflict in the island nation.
Asked whether there would be any change in the decision on the resignation of the MPs in Tamil Nadu on the Lankan issue, he replied that the need would not arise now as the UPA Government was doing all that was
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