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Govt keen to resettle IDPs in shortest time

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 country.

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

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