Rajapaksa Expected to Use Re-election for Settlement of Minorities: Krishna
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has said that with his re-election as President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rakapaksa is expected to use the opportunity for settlement with all ethnic minorities in the country, reported ANI.
Talking to reporters on board the special aircraft while on his way back from Kuwait, the minister was quoted as saying: “We sincerely hope that President Rajapaksa will utilise this mandate which has been given in his favour to bring about a settlement with all the ethnic minorities in that country. So that a new beginning with a sense of new hope can be initiated in Sri Lanka.”
It may be mentioned that Indian had offered Sri Lanka 100 million dollars last October to help war refugees return home and rebuild the country’s devastated north as New Delhi sought to engage in the island nation’s post-war reconstruction and retain influence.
India had given Sri Lanka a similar aid package in July 2009 just after Sri Lankan government announced victory in a 25-year war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
According to figures, around 260,000 Tamil refugees, who fled when the war was on, are now residing as displaced persons in military-run camps. Western countries, India and the United Nations are pressing the government to send them home.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had said that 70-80 percent of the Tamil refugees would be resettled by January. Nearly 15,000 have been sent home as yet.
Rajapaksa, who has won Sri Lanka’s first post-war national election on Jan. 27, has promised to sit down with the Tamil minority to discuss devolution of power, on which he dragged his feet by citing the need to finish the elections initially.