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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3247

Mr MAHER —My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Was consideration given at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to the plight of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka?

Mr HAWKE —In the course of the recent CHOGM meeting in New Delhi the matter was raised in the general debate on international security. It also arose in bilateral discussions I had with the President of Sri Lanka and with the Prime Minister of India. I am not able to say with confidence that the problem will be resolved. The important thing I can say is that I derived the very strong impression from the conversations I had with the President and the Prime Minister that there is the will on the part of the two relevant leaders to try to secure a satisfactory and, as far as possible, peaceable resolution of what has indeed been a tragic situation within Sri Lanka. The Commonwealth heads of government as such made no decision. However, I repeat that I formed the impression that the intention of the President of Sri Lanka and of the Prime Minister of India, as far as India is concerned with the problem, as it is, to do all in their power to secure a peaceful resolution of a potentially very tragic situation.