Lanka Awaits India Response on Talks to Solve Fishermen Issue

Published: 01st April 2014 09:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2014 09:34 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

Sri Lanka on Tuesday said it is waiting for India's response on the resumption of talks between fishing delegations from the two countries to resolve the politically sensitive fishermen issue.

"We await a request and waiting to respond on the prospect of future talks in order to come for a settlement," Fisheries Ministry spokesman Narendra Rajapaksa said.

On March 12, Sri Lanka had issued orders to release Indian fishermen, arrested for allegedly poaching in Lankan waters, ahead of the talks that was earlier scheduled for March 13 and later for March 25, but could not be held.

The order by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa came

last Friday, a day after India abstained at a US-sponsored resolution against Colombo at the UNHRC.

"We know that the talks could not be held on March 13 and 25. As per the President's order only 40 fishermen and 18 boats are remaining to be released. When that happens there will be no Indian fishermen under our custody, Rajapaksa added.

India was among the 12 countries that abstained while the resolution moved by the US government was carried with 24 votes in favour.

India had voted in favour of two previous US-backed resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

The bilateral talks began in mid January to find a solution to the fishermen issue that often boils into a major political controversy in India.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had demanded the release of all Indian fishermen held by Sri Lanka before the talks could resume.

Sri Lanka had seized over 160 fishermen despite the agreements reached at talks held in Chennai in January.

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