SL President's media spokesman visits Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 May 2004, 17:48 GMT]
Sri Lanka President's media spokesman and the Director General of the Northern Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation Ministry, Mr.Harim Peiris, Wednesday arrived in Jaffna and held discussions with government officials and the Sri Lanka Army Commander in Jaffna, Major General Susil Chandrapala, at the Jaffna district secretariat.

Mr.Harim Peiris speaking
Mr.Harim Peiris speaking among the representatives of the Jaffna Missing Persons Guardians Association regarding missing youths after their arrest by the SLA.
The Government Agent, Mr.S.Pathmanathan, presided, sources said.

At the conclusion of the conference representatives of several civil groups in the Jaffna district met with Mr. Peiris and handed over memorandum, seeking the government to remove high security zones in the peninsula which prevent hundreds of thousands of internally displaced families now staying in refugee camps and welfare centres resettling in their houses and lands, sources said.

Later Mr. Peiris addressed Jaffna based journalists. He told journalists that development and peace process should be taken forward in parallel.

He added Tamils have the right to enjoy their rights as other people in the country.

His visit to Jaffna was to obtain first hand information regarding the ground situation and the President has given more importance to well-being of the displaced and that was why she created a ministry for rehabilitation and reconstruction, Mr. Peiris said.

Mr.Harim Peiris speaking at the conference
Mr.Harim Peiris speaking at the conference.

Normalcy could be restored in the lives of Tamil people within two months if the government and the civic organizations that represent the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam worked jointly in this sphere, he stressed.

The then UNF government did not take any step to launch development projects for the last two years in the Jaffna district. Action should be taken to implement development projects already formulated, he added.

Referring to the reduction of dry ration relief in the Jaffna district, Mr.Peiris said international organizations do not encourage the continuance of welfare schemes to poor people forever.

In reply to a question about the continuance of high security zones in the peninsula, Mr.Peiris said the resettlement of internally displaced in the HSZ is interlinked with three issues, political decision, security and the humanitarian angle. Hence the resettlement of IDPs could be possible in the HSZ if all the three sectors arrive at an acceptable decision, he said.

Mr.Harim Peiris and Major General Susil Chandrapala discuss
Mr.Harim Peiris and Major General Susil Chandrapala in discussion.
He said the Sri Lanka Army should decide the opening of the road in reply to a question about the opening of the Poonagary-Kerativu road. He said the parties concerned have not shown any interest to re-open the Tellipalai cancer hospital, which is located in the HSZ although the SLA has given permission to do so.

Mr. Peiris was scheduled to visit Thenmaradchchi Wednesday afternoon and later to travel to LTTE-held Kilinochchi through A9 highway and meet government officials there, sources said.

He said he would not visit the HSZ areas in the district during his stay.


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