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Sunday, 6 February 2011

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Defence Secretary tells Tamil diaspora:

Donít be misled by unscrupulous elements

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that expatriate Tamils living abroad should look way forward in the reconstructing and development process in the country instead of being misled by unscrupulous elements which are trying to destabilise the peaceful atmosphere in the country.

He was speaking to a sixteen-member Tamil diaspora delegation from Germany, Australia, USA, Canada and the UK last week. He discussed with them post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the North and the East.

The diaspora delegation was here at the invitation of the Non Governmental Organisation NERDO to study the progress in the areas hit by terrorist activities in the North and the East, sources said.

The diaspora delegation which met the Defence Secretary said that it was impressed with the ongoing rehabilitation as well as the development activities in the North and the East.

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the diaspora delegation that the Government was more focused on reconstructing the North and the East making the region economically vibrant.

He said more interaction with regard to development activities should come from the Tamil diaspora to silence the disruptive elements abroad. The diaspora delegation also met Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe and discussed issues with regard to their cooperation with the Lankan Foreign missions abroad. The Foreign Secretary emphasised the need to involve Tamil expatriates in the reconstruction process in the North and the East.

He also briefed them about the detainees released following rehabilitation. The Foreign Secretary said around 6,000 detainees out of 11,600 from the North and the East have been sent back to their parents.

He said that 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) remained soon after the conflict ended and within a short spell except 17,000 the remaining have been released. Prior to the meetings in Colombo, the Tamil diaspora delegation also visited Kilinochchi, Oddusuddan and several areas in the Jaffna Peninsula.

They met members of the Jaffna Civil Society, University students and the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe.

The delegation also received first-hand information on the rehabilitation and resettlement process currently under way in the North, the sources said.

 

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