Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Friday voiced his country’s support to Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism. According to the president’s office here, Musharraf gave the assurance at a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa in China on the sidelines of the multilateral Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference.
“President Musharraf reiterated his country’s opposition to terrorism in all its manifestations and assured Sri Lanka of all assistance to defeat terrorism in the country,” an official source here said.
The president’s office said that the two leaders discussed bilateral issues, including trade and economic and defence co-operation.
Extending his condolences to Rajapaksa over the April 6 assassination of his cabinet minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, the Pakistani president “condemned such acts of terror and underlined the need for its elimination”.
Congratulating Musharraf over his commitment to restore democracy in Pakistan, Rajapaksa “explained the actions being taken to defeat the terrorism of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in Sri Lanka”.
The two presidents also agreed to the need to transform the existing Free Trade Agreement between the two countries to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Musharraf also thanked Rajapaksa for Sri Lanka’s support for Pakistan when “some member states” suspended it from the Commonwealth.
China and Pakistan are the two main military suppliers to Sri Lanka, where a dragging Tamil separatist campaign has left thousands dead.
The BFA conference is being held April 11-13 at Boao in China’s Hainan province. The theme this year is “Green Asia, Moving Towards Win-Win Through Changes”.
The BFA was set up in 2001 as a platform for high-level interaction between leaders from Asia and across the world and with the aim of promoting development goals of Asian countries through greater regional economic integration.
Friday, 11 April 2008
At least 26 Tamil Tiger rebels, two soldiers and a civilian have been killed in fighting across Sri Lanka's northern districts, the defence ministry said Friday.
Security forces smashed rebel bunkers and exchanged artillery with Tamil Tiger guerrillas in two days of fighting, while air force jets bombed a suspected Tiger sea base on Thursday, the ministry said.
A Tamil laundry owner was shot dead on the Jaffna peninsula on Friday, the ministry said, blaming the attack on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
There was no immediate comment from the LTTE, who have been fighting for autonomy in the island's north and east for Tamils from the majority Sinhalese community.
The latest violence came as both the Sinhalese and the Tamils prepared to celebrate the traditional New Year on Sunday.
Security forces have killed at least 2,750 Tamil Tiger rebels since the beginning of this year, while 158 government troops have lost their lives in the same period, according to defence ministry figures.
The guerrillas have disputed defence ministry figures. There is no independent verification of casualties since authorities prevent journalists and most aid workers from travelling to embattled areas.
Tens of thousands have died since the conflict erupted in 1972.