Govt keen to resettle IDPs in shortest time
The Government is committed to resettle and
rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons in the North, who were the
victims of the LTTE's terror and were held hostage by the LTTE, in the
shortest possible time, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-Moon at bilateral talks on the sidelines of the 15th NAM
Summit on Wednesday(15).
The UN Secretary General thanked the Sri Lankan
Government for the excellent arrangements for his visit to Sri Lanka in
the final stages of the battle with the LTTE.
The issue of IDPs, conditions in the IDP relief
centres and the need for reconciliation among all communities were among
the matters mentioned by the UN Secretary General during his discussions
with President Rajapaksa.
He was told by the President that it was yet only
eight weeks since the final liberation of the Tamil civilians from the
LTTE, and the Government had demonstrated that it was doing its best to
ease the conditions in the IDP relief centres during this period, and
that conditions would further improve day-by-day.
He was clear that the IDPs would not be kept in these
centres for any longer than was necessary, due to reasons such as the
clearing of land mines, and the setting up of proper infrastructure
facilities for their proper resettlement and rehabilitation.
With regard to reconciliation, President Rajapaksa
said this was a priority of the Government, and that work had already
been initiated in this regard with the All Party Committee of
Development and Reconciliation.
The Government was engaged in talks with all sections
of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, as well as the expatriate Tamil
community, to achieve reconciliation, he said.
When the Secretary General explained that
reconciliation was important to the International Community, President
Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka too considered it as a matter of great
importance, and was in the process of working towards this goal.
On the issue of UN personnel in the IDP relief centres
who have not been released, President Rajapaksa informed the UN
Secretary General that any delay was mainly due to the UN not supplying
a complete list of such persons, but instead giving names in stages,
which lead to delays in processing.
President Rajapaksa thanked the United Nations for the
help it had so far given Sri Lanka to deal with the issue of IDPs and
looked forward to continued cooperation between the UN and Sri Lanka on
this and other pressing issues in the post conflict phase of the
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Secretary to the
President Lalith Weeratunga, and the Secretary Foreign Affairs Dr.
Palitha Kohona were present at the discussions.
Courtesy: Daily News