SLA occupation must cease for normalcy to return - GA

[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 May 2003, 10:53 GMT]
"Normalcy in the day to day lives of residents of Jaffna district will not return until Sri Lanka Army (SLA) vacates from civilian houses and public buildings," said the Jaffna Government Agent (GA) S. Pathamanathan when he met US Embassy head of Political section Chris Long at the Jaffna Beach Hotel yesterday, local press reports said.

The GA was responding to a query by the Embassy Official whether Jaffna is progressing towards normalcy.

Mr. Long further asked the GA about the rehabilitation activities, political environment and child recruitment by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), reports said.

The GA replied that the large tracts of fertile land and residential areas fall within the High Security Zone (HSZ) which is preventing large number of people from resettling in their own homes. People whose livelihood depended on fishing cannot pratise their trade as areas close to the sea are still being occupied by the SLA which disallows fishing at nights, GA said.

Only 5000 families have been given financial assistance for resettlement. 35,000 additional families are awaiting for financial help but secretariat is unable to provide them the required assistance due to shortage of funds, the GA said. Disbursement of assistance had to be slowed down deliberately to minimize serious financial shortage, he added.

The GA also told the US official that he has received no complaints of forced child recruitment.

On the political situation, the GA told the US offical that six of the nine Members of Parliament are supporting the political stand of LTTE. One parliamentarian is a Minister in the United National Front (UNF) government. The other two MPs belong to the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP).

The US official later met with the Election Commissioner and visited Sarasalai near Chavakachcheri to observe the mine clearing work undertaken by the Mozambiquan nationals.

 

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