Secretariat formed to manage NE development

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 November 2002, 17:46 GMT]
Setting up of a Secretariat to manage the rehabilitation and development to start functioning on 15 December was discussed at the first meeting of the Sub-Committee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs of North East (SIHRN) comprising delegations of the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held Monday, 18 November, at the Killinochchi District Secretariat auditorium.

SIHRN is one of the three sub-committees appointed at the second session of the first round of peace talks held between the delegations of the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE at Rose Gardens resort in Thailand two weeks ago. The sub-committee session began around 10am and lasted for 7 hours including lunch.

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Talking to the press during the luncheon break, LTTE political head Mr.Thamilchelvan said that talks are being conducted in a cordial atmosphere and he was satisfied with the progress of the talks during the morning session. He said a decision has been taken to set up a Secretariat at Killinochchi to handle rehabilitation, reconstruction and development activities in the northeast.

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Mr.Thamilchelvan said he has total confidence on the Norwegian facilitation and that in LTTE's view the peace process is being ably moved forward by the Norwegian Government in a balanced and fair manner. "We did not take the accusatory comments made by Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar regarding the Norwegian role seriously. We believe that these statements were a reaction of Lakshman Kadirgarmer and President Kumaratunge to the forthcoming aid talks in Oslo on 25 November, where LTTE stands to gain international acceptance and respectability," Mr.Thamilchelvan told journalists at Kilinochchi.

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Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan, Political head of LTTE, led the LTTE delegation. Mr.V.Balakumaran, Mr.Poovannan, Mr.Joy Maheswaran, Trincomalee district political head Tilak and Batticaloa district political head Kausalyan were the other members of the LTTE delegation.

The Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat Mr.Bernard Gunatilake led the government delegation. Mr.M.D.D.Peiris, Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Reforms, Science and Technology also participated as a member of the government delegation. Muslim community was represented by Mr. Risard Badiudin, Northern Vanni district parliamentarian and Mr.M.I.M.Rafeek, Member of Parliament from Vanni East.

Norwegian ambassador Mr.Jon Westborg and his assistant Mr. Thomas Strangeland, and Japanese embassy officials were also present during the discussion.

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The press release issued by the Norwegian Embassy on the meeting follows:

"The first meeting of the SIHRN took place in Kilinochchi on November 18 at the Government Agent's Office. The meeting started at 10 00 a.m. and lasted for almost seven hours including lunch. Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke headed the Government's delegation while Mr. Tamilselvan lead the LTTE delegation. Mr. Westborg facilitated the meeting on behalf of the Norwegian Government. On behalf of Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa participated as principal advisor.

The meeting was held in an encouraging atmosphere and the parties had a constructive approach to the challenges they were facing during the meeting. The parties agreed on a set of procedural guidelines to be applied in the meetings of the SIHRN and the financial structure of the Secretariat to the SIHRN. Further the parties discussed the organisation of the Secretariat and also the appointment of a Director and Deputy Directors. The parties agreed that the Secretariat would start functioning on December 15. An agreement on the procedure for selection of international firms for monitoring of activities and auditing was also reached.

The parties further discussed an "Appeal for Support" to be presented from the Sub Committee to the Oslo Conference on November 25.

The parties agreed to have the next meetings of the SIHRN on the 15 and 16 of December and subsequent meeting on the 15 and 16 of January in 2003."

 

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