Saturday, May 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

TN CM leaves it to Centre
India may give humanitarian aid to Lanka
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, May 5 — The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr M. Karunanidhi, today gave a green signal to the Centre to take “any appropriate action” in Sri Lanka after his hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, during which the two leaders discussed the prevailing politico-strategic situation in the island nation.

Mr Karunanidhi, who flew in here last night after a call from Mr Vajpayee, discussed this morning the Sri Lankan problem in great detail in the context of Colombo’s reported request for assistance to help its beleaguered troops in Jaffna and around from advancing LTTE men.

“It is the Government of India’s privilege to take any appropriate action in the interest of the nation. We do not want to interfere in that,” Mr Karunanidhi said in a statement after the meeting.

“We do not want to tie the hands of the Centre but we should not forget the past,” the Chief Minister said, adding, “We do not want any overflow of Sri Lankan matter into Tamil Nadu.”

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers, Mr L.K. Advani, Mr George Fernandes, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Murasoli Maran.

Talking to newspersons after the meeting, Mr Jaswant Singh said India would consider providing humanitarian assistance to the Sri Lankan government when Colombo asks for it.

Ruling out the possibility of military intervention, the External Affairs Minister said, “There is no question of going down the IPKF route. The question of Indian military intervention in Sri Lanka simply does not arise.”

However, humanitarian assistance “could be considered if and when sought but the situation has not arisen yet”, Mr Jaswant Singh said.

Mr Murasoli Maran said the DMK was a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance and would work with the Centre in dealing with the situation.

COLOMBO (UNI): The Sri Lankan Government is confident that the situation will not arise when some 20000 soldiers serving in Jaffna will have to be evacuated fearing the onslaught of the LTTE.

Commenting on reports that Sri Lanka has sought foreign assistance to evacuate the soldiers, a senior minister said, “There is no question of evacuating the troops. If it has to come to that scenario, we will think about it and the international help is encouraging.”

Dismissing rumours that the LTTE is advancing to encircle Jaffna, he said, “It is not going to happen,” but added that the government has its own strategy to deal with such a situation. He, however, refused to divulge any such plans.

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