Clinton meets TRO Director in Colombo

[TamilNet, Saturday, 28 May 2005, 15:24 GMT]
Mr. K.P. Regi, Executive Director of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), met with former US President Bill Clinton at a meeting of the UN agencies and Civil Society organisations working in Sri Lanka Saturday, sources in Colombo said. The meeting took place at Trans Asia Hotel at 4.30 PM in Colombo.

Mr. K.P. Regi described TROs post-tsunami work in the NorthEast and the problems TRO has faced in providing relief and rehabilitation due to the uncertain political situation in Sri Lanka.

UN Special Envoy meets with TRO Executive Director

Mr Regi explained to the US President the difficulties in clearing relief supplies from Sri Lanka customs, the procedural hurdles imposed by the Government of Sri Lanka to prevent easy access to aid by TRO and the difficulties in transporting relief and reconstruction items through the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) checkpoints to the NorthEast.

These difficulties have hampered progress in moving tsunami affected refugees from transit camps to temporary shelters for during Phase-II of post-tsunami rehabilitation and in building village developments for Phase III plans of the TRO, Mr Regi told the US President.

Mr Regi raised the issue of access to land due to the high security zones and the frustration experienced by the displaced in not allocated suitable land for relocation.

Mr Regi also commented that many local institutions do not have the capacity to meet the stringent requirements of international agencies to qualify for donor aid and suggested that these agencies support capacity building within civil society groups to expedite provision of needed relief to the tsunami affected people in the NorthEast.

Earlier, when reporters asked President Clinton why he had not visited tsunami affected areas in the NorthEast, he responded that there will be many more trips and that he intends visiting all regions affected by tsunami. He added that he was satisfied with the exchanges that he had had with all three communities during the single meeting his schedule allowed him to attend.

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