India's foreign minister says Sri Lanka has agreed to allow a ship sent by Tamil expatriates to off-load its relief supplies.
Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna says he received the assurance during a meeting Wednesday with a high-level Sri Lankan delegation in New Delhi. Mr. Krishna says Sri Lankan officials agreed to permit the relief supplies on the "Captain Ali" to be routed to their country through the Red Cross international relief group.
Earlier this month, Sri Lanka's navy said it had intercepted the ship about 160 kilometers off of its west coast.
The British-based group Mercy Mission to Vanni said the ship was bringing food, medicine and other aid to ethnic Tamils who had been displaced near the end of Sri Lanka's civil war. However, the Sri Lankan government said the aid was intended for Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been defeated in the conflict. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, says his country has vowed to resettle most of the thousands of civilians displaced during the civil war within six months. He commented to reporters Wednesday after the meeting with officials in India.
In May, Sri Lanka carried out a final assault that ended the more than 25-year conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels. The group had been fighting for a separate homeland for the ethnic Tamil minority.
The United Nations estimates as many as 100,000 people died during the conflict. Some 300,000 people were displaced by the fighting and are now living in temporary camps.