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Sunday, 20 September 2009

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UN Under-Secretary tells Minister Bogollagama:

No ‘torch carrying’ for LTTE in UN system

‘Engagement with Sri Lanka to continue:

The United Nations Under-Secretary General for political Affairs Lynn Pascoe told Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama that there was ‘no torch carrying’ for the LTTE in the UN system and the UN was keen to continue its engagement with Sri Lanka. The meeting between the UN Under Secretary and Foreign Minister Bogollagama took place at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday. The Foreign Minister outlined the progress made so far and in particular referred to the recently concluded elections in the North, the ongoing family reunification programs, resettlement, enabling children in the IDP welfare villages and ex-combatants to sit the GCE Advanced Level examinations, the submission of the APRC proposals and the participation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the ongoing political progress.

Pascoe thanked the Minister for inviting him to visit Sri Lanka again and added that the UN and the Secretary General have continued to be supportive of the efforts of the Sri Lankan Government. He said that he was “encouraged” by what he had witnessed during his visit to the North on that day. Pascoe and his delegation visited Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna and the rehabilitation centres for ex-combatants and some of the welfare villages including the Manik Farm.

Pascoe said that there was “no torch carrying” for the LTTE in the UN system adding that the UN was keen to continue its engagement with Sri Lanka.

Commenting on his visit to the north, Pascoe said that he was “impressed by the work done by the Army, the demining teams, the UN staff and the civil society” and that the team also witnessed the rehabilitation work that was under way.

In Jaffna, they were able to feel that the people were looking forward to getting more opportunities and that there was a feeling that a “whole era was waiting for them.”

During the discussions, issues pertaining to the healthcare services provided to the IDPs and educational facilities including the vocational training were also highlighted.

Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Law Reforms, S. K. Gamlath joining the discussions explained the progress made in the rehabilitation of ex-combatants.

He said that after rehabilitation, some reintegrated into society, while others had gone overseas for employment arranged under a special rehabilitation program.

He also acknowledged the assistance rendered by the UNICEF in this endeavour.

 

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