Radical decentralization of relief work needed, TNA tells Dutch FM

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 February 2005, 12:49 GMT]
A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) told the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Mr. Bernard Bot, when they met him Thursday that Colombo's attempt to centralize the rehabilitation work has not worked as experience from the last six six weeks clearly show that hardly any progress has been made in the restoration of the lives of the affected people. "The continuance of the present method of functioning could only result in further deterioration, and that it was imperative that the government urgently set up the required mechanism in the Northeast." the TNA delegation further told the visiting Netherland FM.

TNA delegation meet with Netherland FM
TNA delegation met with Netherland Foreign Minister at Colombo-Hilton Hotel

Full text of the press release by the Tamil National Alliance follows:

"A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance met with His Excellency Mr. Bernard Bot Foreign Minister of the Netherlands on 3rd February 2005. Associated with the Foreign Minister was the Director General Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Government, the Ambassador for the Netherlands in Sri Lanka, the officer in charge of the South Asian desk and other officials. The TNA was represented by Mr. R. Sampanthan M.P. Parliamentary Group Leader, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham M.P. and Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam M.P.

"The TNA thanked the Netherlands Government for the interest they have taken in the peace process and for the statement issued by the co-chairs of the Tokyo Conference inclusive of the European Union and the Netherlands, emphasizing the importance of sustaining focus on the peace process, and the opportunities available to strengthen the peace process by the Government and the LTTE working together in relation to tsunami related activities.

"The Foreign Minister assured the TNA delegation that the Netherlands Government was committed to fully supporting the peace process and would assist generously in post tsunami related development.

"The TNA emphasized the importance of the creation of a mechanism in the Northeast, represented by the Government the LTTE other stakeholders such as the Muslims the Sinhalese and other institutions to handle the post tsunami related activities in the Northeast. The TNA emphasized that the centralization of such activities was doomed to result in failure, and that this was reflected in the fact that almost six weeks after the tsunami disaster, hardly any progress had been achieved in the restoration of the lives of the affected people. The continuance of the present method of functioning could only result in further deterioration, and that it was imperative that the government urgently set up the required mechanism in the Northeast.

"The TNA also urged that pending such a mechanism being set up, aid and assistance to the Northeast should be channeled towards identified projects, or channeled through International Non Governmental Organizations for development activities in the Northeast. The TNA also stated that from information available, it would appear that 70% to 71% of the post tsunami needs assessment pertains to the Northeast, and that the affected people in the Northeast should receive aid and assistance in proportion to the damage sustained and in accordance to the needs assessment.

"The Foreign Minister assured the TNA delegation that aid and assistance would be directed towards identified projects, and that every step would be taken to ensure that the aid and assistance is utilized for such identified projects and properly expended. The Foreign Minister further assured that every step would be taken to ensure that the aid and assistance reached the affected people.

"The meeting was conducted in a very cordial and friendly environment and the Foreign Minister assured the TNA that they would continue to be in close contact."

R. SAMPANTHAN M.P.
Parliamentary Group Leader, TNA

 

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