Phased approach agreed to address Jaffna HSZ resettlement
[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 December 2002, 13:54 GMT]
At the second meeting of the Sub Committee on De-escalation and Normalization (SDN) held Saturday at Muhamalai it was agreed that a solution to the resettlement of internally displaced people in High Security Zones (HSZ) and other areas presently perceived as inaccessible to the public could be only solved through integrated plans of action agreed upon by the two parties, said a press release issued by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka.
“The first of such plans for a limited previously populated area in the High Security Zone in the Jaffna peninsula will be delivered by the SLA Jaffna Commander Major General Sarath Fonseka before 21st of December,” said the press release issued Saturday evening at the end of the SDN meeting which lasted for almost seven hours.
The press release further states,” this plan will thereafter be discussed and agreed upon in a meeting between Major General Fonseka and Colonel Theepan, LTTE commander of the North with the assistance of Major General Trond Furuhovde, Head of the SLMM, as a consultant to the SDN.”
The meeting was held at no man zone Muhamalai in the presence of the Norwegian Ambassador Mr.Jon Westborg and the SLMM Head Major General (retd) Trond Furuhovde.
The press release of the Norwegian Embassy follows:
"The second meeting of the Sub-Committee on De-escalation and Normalization (SDN) was held in Muhamalai 14th of December, 2002. The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere and lasted for almost seven hours including lunch. Mr Austin Fernando, Secretary of the Ministry of defense, headed the government delegation while Colonel Karuna, Special Commander of the LTTE in Batticaloa-Ampara district, was the head of the LTTE delegation. Both delegations had a non-confrontational approach to the matters discussed and demonstrated a mutual understanding and will to find solutions acceptable to both parties.
“The SDN finds it extremely encouraging to see that some of the recommendations made by the District Committees of the SDN in November have already been implemented. This is especially the case in Batticaloa district and both delegations stated their satisfaction with how smooth the peace process has been lately in that area. All the remaining recommendations of the District Committees were agreed upon in general by the SDN. They will be implemented by the parties and the progress monitored by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).
“The matter of High Security Zones, especially in Jaffna peninsula, was discussed at length. The parties agreed that a solution to the resettlement of internally displaced people in present High Security Zones and other areas presently perceived as inaccessible to the pubic could only be solved through integrated plans of action agreed upon by the two parties. These plans will include both security issues as well as humanitarian needs.
“Such plans should be developed in consultation between the relevant Brigade field headquarters. In order to work out appropriate plans and procedures and to build gradual trust between the parties in the process, it was agreed that such plans should start on limited areas and be developed continuously while already agreed plans are being implemented.
“Major General Sarath Fonseka, Commander of the Sri Lankan Army in Jaffna peninsula, will deliver a proposal for the first of such plans for a limited, previously populated area in the High Security Zone in the Jaffna peninsula, before 21st of December. This plan will thereafter be discussed and agreed upon in a meeting between Major General Fonseka and Colonel Theepan, LTTE commander of the North, with the assistance of Major General Trond Furuhovde, Head of the SLMM, as a consultant to the SDN.
“The principle way of connecting security to normalization is regarded by the parties as an expression of de-escalation contributing to building confidence between the parties.
“The SDN agreed that LTTE would within 14 days present a proposal on a structure and procedures on how to deal with return of land and property to rightful owners. This proposal will be presented to the Government of Sri Lanka and taken up for discussion at the next meeting of the SDN.
“The next plenary session of the SDN will be held in Omanthai on the 20th of January 2003,” the press release concluded.