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
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.