New UNICEF chief meets Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 June 2005, 13:14 GMT]
The new executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Ann Veneman, on her first official visit to Sri Lanka Saturday met with Head of Liberation Tigers Political Wing, S.P Thamilchelvan at the LTTE Peace Secretariat building in Kilinochchi at 10.45am, sources in Kilinochchi said.

UNICEF's Veneman

UNICEF's Veneman
Executive Director of UNICEF, Ann Veneman
Mr Toshi Niwa from UNICEF head office, Mr Ted Chaiban, UNICEF country representative for Sri Lanka, and Ms Penny Brune, of UNICEF Kilinochchi office accompanied Ms Veneman to the discussions.

Deputy Head of LTTE Political Wing Mr S Thangan, Secretary General of the LTTE Peace Secretariat Mr Puleedevan and Liason officer for Non Governmental organizations, Mr Thiagaraja also participated in the meeting.

Ms Veneman and her team arrived in Kilinochchi at 9am and proceeded to Barathipuram where they met with the Principal of the rural school before the meeting at the Peace Secretariat.

UNICEF's Veneman
UNICEF's Veneman
UNICEF's Veneman
Talking to the press after the meeting, Ms Veneman said that she is very aware of the impact the tsunami and war have had on the children of the NorthEast, and the urgent need to address the childrens' welfare. She added that UNICEF is also keen to immediately begin the task of rebuilding the region and to address the dire needs of children.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan nominated Ann Veneman who held office as United States Agriculture Secretary, as the executive director of UNICEF replacing Carol Bellamy (66) who left the office in April after two five-year terms.

The United States, the biggest financial supporter of UNICEF, was long dissatisfied with the policies of UN and especially the liberal leanings of Ms Bellamy on reproductive health and sex education, and was pressuring the UN leadership to replace Ms Bellamy, reports said.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund was created in 1946 to help children survive after World War Two. Today, it leads human rights campaigns, educational programs and other efforts around the world.

Ann Veneman (55) is a lawyer who grew up on a peach farm in Modesto, California . She is an expert on agriculture, international marketing and food aid and resigned as agriculture secretary to President Bush after his re-election. Before she joined President Bush's Cabinet in 2001, she served from 1995 to 1999 as secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and earlier served in agriculture-related posts in the administrations of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.


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