Kumaratunga confidante promises better deal in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 September 2004, 17:09 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunga's spokesman and advisor on rehabilitation and reconstruction, Mr. Harim Pieris told jounalists in Jaffna Monday that her government does not discriminate between areas held by the Liberation Tigers and Sri Lankan armed forces in providing aid unlike the previous regime in Colombo. He pointed out that President Chandrika's government had repaired bridges on the A9 road first in the LTTE held parts of the north.

Mr. Harim Pieris in Jaffna


Mr.Pieris said the Muhamalai and Omanthai entry points on the A9 would be open to traffic until 7 p.m. from 1 October. The A9 entry points now close at six in the evening.

''The Sri Lankan government Peace secretariat is continuing dscussions with LTTE's Peace Secretariat on the possible formulation of the agenda for recommencing negotiations'', he said. But Mr. Pieris cautioned that it is not easy to restart the stalled talks.

Responding to a question by TamilNet regarding the plight of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India, he said that his government has had discussions with UNHCR to bring back 5000 by plane every year. However in view of the fact that there are 60000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India has prompted his government to urge the UNHCR to double the number, he claimed.

Mr. Pieris said President Kumaratunga is planning double the budget allocation for resttlement in the northeast next year. The current allocation is 95 million rupees (approx. 950,000 USD).

Responding to another question by TamilNet, he said poor releief will not be stopped in Jaffna until the Samurdhi poverty alleviation program is implemented in the peninsula next year.

 

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