Udhagamandalam: The north-east issue in Sri
Lanka should be resolved as soon as possible by the Government
keeping in mind the grievances and aspirations of the Tamil
people, said Sri Lankan Minister of Youth Empowerment and
Socio-Economic Development Arumugan Thondaman.
He was addressing the 53rd annual conference of
the Planters' Association of Tamil Nadu at Coonoor on Saturday.
Mr. Thondaman, who is also President of the Ceylon Workers
Congress (CWC), said that the CWC would always support the peace
process and hoped that both the Government and the LTTE resolved
the issues through negotiations and political dialogue. India's
assistance in making the parties come together to resolve the
issues was the need of the hour.
He said that Sri Lanka and India need peace and
tranquillity to move forward in achieving their national
If peace was achieved through non-violence it
would be more enduring than if it was brought about by war.
Later speaking to mediapersons, Mr. Thondaman said that India's
efforts to bring the warring groups together were laudable.
To a query, he replied that he did not subscribe
to the reported view of a Cabinet colleague that the Indian
envoy in Sri Lanka, Nirupama Rao, was interfering in the
internal affairs of his country.
He added that even the Government did not share
the view. To another question, he said that since an agreement
had made it possible for Sri Lankan tea to be exported to India,
there was no harm in exploring the possibility of exporting
Indian tea to Sri Lanka.