COLOMBO, Sept 21 (NIA) – Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has sought for an early solution to the India, Sri Lanka fishermen issue in discussions held with the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, the government information department said in a statement here on Wednesday.
During the bilateral meeting held in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Sirisena said that both the Indian and Sri Lankan governments looked at it as a human issue and whenever fishermen were arrested for illegal border crossing, the respective governments released them as early as possible.
He also said, the Sri Lankan government and the fisherman in the North of the island nation were concerned about the long term damage caused to the environment and the sea resources.
Hence, an early solution should be found with the involvement of the fisher community and he urged the central government assistance for this.
Sri Lanka and India, have been trying to resolve the long standing fishermen issue with fishermen from both sides having to face arrest and boats being detained when they stray into each other’s waters illegally.
Both countries have held several rounds of talks in an attempt to resolve the matter but have failed to reach a final solution.
Indian fishermen often stray into Sri Lankan waters to catch fish as Sri Lanka has rich fishing resources.
Meanwhile, during discussions, the Sri Lankan President expressed his condolences on behalf of the government and people of Sri Lanka over the recent violence in Kashmir resulting in several killings. The President further said that the region should collectively act to curb such violence.
The Indian minister briefed Sirisena regarding the situation that lead to the recent incident.
Sirisena said such complicated situations should be dealt with patience and dialogue is the only way to find solutions to such issues.
The Indian Minister also referred to some delays in the commencement of some joint ventures in Sri Lanka and pointed out the need to expedite those projects. Sirisena said he continuously examined the progress of the proposed projects.