Frustration of affected people growing high - Norwegian Minister

[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 January 2005, 18:32 GMT]
Emphasizing on the need for wider co-operation between President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) visiting Minister of International Development of Norway, Ms. Hilde F. Johnson said on Saturday night in Colombo that the frustration of the tsunami affected people was growing high as a result of their needs not being met by authorities.

Norwegian International Development Minister, Ms. Hilde Frafjord Ms. Hilde Johnson"I spoke to the affected people both in Hambantota in the South and Mullaitivu in the North. Their impatience is growing and the frustration is growing even more. We all, the government of Sri Lanka, the LTTE and the international donor community should meet their expectations and focus on this urgent need before it could lead to tension," the Norwegian Minister told reporters at a briefing held at Colombo Hilton before winding up her visit to Sri Lanka.

Highlighting for practical approach for urgent co-operation between the government and the LTTE regarding the distribution of relief supply she said that the affected people "should not be held hostage" of the situation.

She said that the "risk of politicization" was one of the main concerns of the donor community and pointed out that one of the key challenges "is to ensure that international assistance is conducive to build in a lasting peace in the country.

Having held lengthy discussions with the leaderships of both the government and the LTTE during his three-day visit, the Norwegian Minister said that the allocation of aid "should be on the basis of the need of the people and all in need should get help".

Answering a question whether the LTTE had wanted the foreign aid to be released to them directly, she said it was one of the main focuses during discussion with the LTTE leadership.

"They also need international assistance and aid. That's why we urge for greater co-operation and practical approach between the government and the LTTE," she said.

Expressing her willingness to revisit Sri Lanka at the earliest, she said the co-chairs of the Tokyo donor conference for Sri Lanka was to meet soon to focus on "donor co-operation" in the background of reviving the stalled peace process.

 

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