Norwegian Foreign Minister welcomes signing of aid deal

[TamilNet, Friday, 24 June 2005, 13:49 GMT]
Congratulating the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for officially reaching agreement on the joint management structure for the effective and equitable reconstruction and development of the tsunami-affected areas in the North and East, Norwegian Foreign Minister, Mr Jan Petersen, on Friday, urged the parties to rapidly establish the joint structure for the benefit of all affected by the tsunami, and to make judicious use of this opportunity to build mutual confidence to advance the peace process through their cooperation on reconstruction. Working closely with Muslims will key for effective implementation of the joint mechanism, Petersen said in his message.

Full text of the message issued by the Norwegian Foreign Minister from Oslo follows:

Sri Lankan Government and LTTE establish a joint structure for post-tsunami reconstruction

Mr. Jan Petersen, Norwegian Foreign Minister- Today the parties in the peace process have entered into an agreement of great importance, says Foreign Minister of Norway Jan Petersen, commenting on the establishment by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of a joint management structure for the effective and equitable reconstruction and development of the tsunami-affected areas in the north and east of Sri Lanka. This is the first time in over two decades of armed conflict that the parties have agreed to cooperate in a political administrative structure that comprises the national, regional and district levels.

- It is of major political significance that the parties after nearly a half-year of efforts have signed the agreement on the joint management structure. I congratulate the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with today’s signing, says Petersen.

The Muslim population, which has been severely affected by both the conflict and the tsunami, will be represented in the joint management structure.

- The participation of Muslims will be essential for effective reconstruction after the tsunami and for efforts to achieve a lasting solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka, says Petersen.

- It is important now that the parties rapidly establish the joint structure for the benefit of all persons affected by the tsunami, and that they make the most of this opportunity to build mutual confidence in the continued peace process though their cooperation on reconstruction. In their endeavor, the parties need the active support of the international community, both in terms of economic and political backing, the Foreign Minister emphasizes.

It also remains critical that both parties strictly uphold the Ceasefire Agreement and that all Sri Lankans promote a peaceful environment for reconstruction.

The Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE have worked to agree upon the joint structure since early January. The negotiations have been facilitated by the Embassy of Norway in Colombo. Visiting Sri Lanka this past week, State Secretary Vidar Helgesen has participated in the discussions with the President of Sri Lanka and her government and with the leadership of the LTTE.

 

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