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Lanka in the dark on Jaffna visit

2013 Dec 06

The Sri Lankan Government says it has not been informed about a potential visit to Jaffna by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Indian finance minister P. Chidambaram had last week said that Singh will undertake the visit following an invitation extended by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.

However Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam said the Government was not aware of such a visit, the Telegraph in India reported.

He described as “unfortunate” Manmohan Singh’s absence from last month’s Commonwealth meeting in Colombo .

“It was unfortunate that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo,” Kariyawasam told The Telegraph over a fortnight after the November 15-17 conclave.

Chidambaram had justified as “wise” the Prime Minister’s decision to skip the Commonwealth (CHOGM) meeting and send foreign minister Salman Khurshid instead.

But high commissioner Kariyawasam termed Singh’s decision an “opportunity lost”. He said not only would have Singh’s presence at the CHOGM been widely applauded, he would have also had the chance to see the “enormous progress” in the work done with Indian help in the northern province of Jaffna that is home to Tamils.

“The progress we have made in the northern province with Indian help is enormous. Had the PM visited Jaffna for CHOGM, he would have been able to see it himself. It would have helped the India-Sri Lanka partnership and the reconciliation process further. It was an opportunity lost,” Kariyawasam said. (Colombo Gazette)

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