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Compromise plan on the cards for PM's Sri Lanka visit for CHOGM

Nov 07, 2013 07:58 AM IST Politics Politics
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New Delhi: Uncertainty continues over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting (CHOGM). Sources have now told CNN-IBN that the External Affairs Ministry has proposed a compromise plan where the Prime Minister makes a short stop at Jaffna before he heads to Colombo.

Sources say this will be an opportunity for the Prime Minister to express concern for Sri Lankan Tamils, while still avoiding a boycott of the CHOGM. Sources in the PMO say no decision has been taken yet on whether the PM will visit Jaffna before he attends the meet. The matter will be discussed in the Congress Core Group meet on Friday.

DMK leader TKS Elangovan has now said that if the PM wants to visit Sri Lanka he should do so after the CHOGM ends. He has said, "We are not against PM going to Jaffna, but he should go there after CHOGM is over. Thalaivar (Karunanidhi) has already conveyed our view that nobody should go to Sri Lanka for Commonwealth. By boycotting we will be showing them our anger."

Two more central ministers have spoken out against Manmohan Singh's visit to Sri Lanka to attend CHOGM in view of that nation's alleged atrocities on Tamils.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy said he had urged the PM to take a "good decision" in view of the sentiments of Tamils. "I told him that the sentiments of Tamils on the issue were very high," Narayanasamy said.

The minister, who represents Puducherry, which has a sizeable Tamil population, said he had urged the prime minister to consider not going to Sri Lanka to attend the CHOGM summit.

Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan also hoped that the prime minister will take a decision keeping in view the sentiments of Tamils. "I hope the Prime Minister will take a good decision," she told reporters in Chennai Monday.

Union Shipping Minister GK Vasan last week met the prime minister to apprise him of the views of the people in Tamil Nadu, and the resolution adopted by the state assembly demanding that India boycott the CHOGM summit. However, Minister of State for Commerce EMS Natchiappan said a "holistic view" needed to be taken of the prime minister's possible visit. "A holistic view needs to be taken which is in the interest of the nation, state and neighbourhood," Natchiappan told a news agency.

He said a decision should be taken which enhances the status of Sri Lankan Tamils, who have suffered. He said the economic development of the Tamils should be borne in mind while taking a decision.

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said on Saturday that a decision is yet to be taken on the prime minister attending CHOGM. DMK president M Karunanidhi said the Congress would "face consequences" if the prime minister participated in the summit.

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