Annan wants to come back to visit entire country

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 January 2005, 11:24 GMT]
Diplomatically ducking a question whether he regretted that he could not visit the LTTE-controlled areas, visiting Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said in Colombo today he was "hoping to be able to come back and visit all parts of Sri Lanka, not just to visit but to celebrate peace." Visibly frustrated with his itinerary set by the government of Sri Lanka that banned him from seeing the enormous devastation caused by tsunami terror waves in the LTTE-held areas, he said that the UN was not a "one man show" and there were number of people attached to the UN agencies working in parts of the country, including the LTTE-held areas.

UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan"The UN agencies are very active. And think my presence in this country and the region on the scores of the important UN and the international community, attached to the crisis that we are trying to deal with here. We are in it for the long hold and encourage to the donor to think in longer term," he said.

Asked whether he discussed the prolonging issue of the fragile peace process, he said that he did raise the question of peace process with the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), leaders of all political parties and President Kumaratunga and "insisted the need to intensify the peace efforts".

He expressed optimism that his not visiting the LTTE-held Wanni areas would not affect the routine work of several UN agencies that are already working there.

"I think the UN has had very good relation with the people, the NGOs and with the government. I intend to keep it that way including with the LTTE," Annan said, adding that the natural disaster has transcended all the division that had remained in Sri Lanka for so long.

"So the ordinary people of Sri Lanka have come together on an extraordinary scale to meet the needs created by the emergency. I fervently hope that their political leaders would do the same in joined hands," he said.

He said that there will be a donor community review meeting in Geneva on February 11 to assess the progress of the rebuilding effort and decide on the future release of aid resources for tsunami disaster.

 

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