Colombo in regular touch with LTTE, says Jayantha Dhanapala
[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 January 2005, 19:07 GMT]
The head of the Government's Secretariat for Coordinating Peace Process (SCOPP) Mr. Jayanda Dhanapala said Thursday that the arrangements are in place to be in regular touch with the LTTE for the purpose of coordinating disaster relief operation and to develop a 'positive partnership' in recovering from the common adversity. Stating that these arrangements were made by the Norwegian facilitators, he said that a hotline has also been established to maintain the regular contact with the LTTE. Mr. Dhanapala was addressing a press conference in Colombo at the Board of Investment (BOI) auditorium on the Government's Recovery program aftermath the tsunami.
Mr. Dhanapala said that both the government security forces and the LTTE cadres were reaching out to each others to help the affected people on humanitarian ground.
Acknowledging that the accessibility to rush the urgent assistance to the North-East was hindered during the first three days, he hailed the LTTE of having shown "remarkable efficiency in handling rescue and relief efforts in such a difficult circumstance".
"There is a greater base on which we [GOSL and LTTE] can work together. After the tsunami disaster, there is a remarkable opportunity created to resume the stalled peace talks," he said.
Sri Lanka government recently decided to present Dhanapala as a candidate for the post of UN Secretary General when Kofi Annan's term ends.
Asked to comment on the LTTE's displeasure over the government's hand in stopping UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, from visiting the LTTE-controlled areas Dhanapala said that Kofi Annan's travel agenda was prepared in agreement with the UNDP Colombo office.
He said that UN agencies, humanitarian agencies, local and foreign NGOs and the general public were involved in the monumental task of ensuring relief supply to the needy and affected people, while both entry-points of the A9 highway are kept open for 24 hours to enable the people to seek medical or other assistance.
Over 34,000 people had been killed while nearly 5000 still missing after the December 26 tsunami wave attack. Nearly one million people were made homeless throughout the country.
Conceding that the amount of damage was too big to absorb, Mr. Dhanapala observed that the tsunami has "distanced the prospects of the country returning to war".
Others on the head table were: Dr. P.B Jayasundara,Secretary to the Treasury, S. Palihakkara,Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Ranaviraja,Secretary, Ministry of Public Security, Law & Order, Dr U. Vidhanapathirana, Secretary of Industry & Inv. Promotion, Sunil Mendis,Governor - Central Bank, Mano Tittawela,Senior Advisor to the President, Saliya Wickramasuriya,Chairman - Board of Investment, Harry Jayawardena, Chairman, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Deva Rodrigo, Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Udaya Nanayakkara,Chairman, Ceylon Tourist Board.
15.12.04 Sri Lanka’s credibility for UN Secy. Gen. post questioned