Sri Lanka Navy Turns Back Aid Flotilla

United Press International

A ragtag flotilla from India carrying food and medical supplies for civilians in a war-torn province backed down from entering Sri Lanka's territorial waters today and headed home after a four-hour standoff with a naval patrol.

National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali said the flotilla had remained about a mile outside of the country's territorial waters and more than six miles from the northern city of Jaffna during the confrontation.

After radio discussions with a Sri Lankan naval patrol, the flotilla withdrew and headed back toward Rameswaram, India, across the Palk Strait separating Sri Lanka and India.

"At last good sense has prevailed," Athulathmudali said.

The Sri Lankan government earlier today repeated its warning against vessels entering its territorial boundaries

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