Sri Lanka invites Jaya, Swaraj to visit Colombo in September

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Sri Lanka has invited Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and an Indian parliamentary delegation to visit the country, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here Friday.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has been invited by the speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament to visit the country. Swaraj has accepted the invitation and is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka September 16-20, Krishna told the Lok Sabha.

'During his recent meeting with the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in Chennai, Sri Lankan high commissioner to New Delhi has conveyed the invitation of the president of Sri Lanka to chief minister of Tamil Nadu to visit Sri Lanka,' Krishna said while replying to a short duration discussion on steps taken by the government for the relief and resettlement of Sri Lankan Tamils in the Lok Sabha.

'He has also invited a parliamentary team, not only from Tamil Nadu but also from other areas to visit Sri Lanka, including northern Sri Lanka,' said Krishna.

'We would work out a suitable time frame for the visit (of a joint parliamentary delegation) in consultation with the Sri Lankan government,' said Krishna.

During the discussion, MPs cutting across party lines voiced concern at human rights violations during the armed conflict with the LTTE and after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers over two years ago.

The opposition Thursday had accused Sri Lanka of ill-treating Tamils even after crushing the Tamil Tigers, while a Communist leader also flayed New Delhi for its silence on 'war crimes'.

Krishna underlined that since the end of conflict in Sri Lanka, India's focus has been on the welfare and well-being of the Tamils citizens of Sri Lanka. 'Their rehabilitation and rebuilding have been of the highest and most immediate priority,' he said.