Jaffna HSZ to remain - Marapone

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 September 2003, 01:27 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Defense Minister, Mr.Tilak Marapone, said Thursday that until a permanent solution to the ethnic conflict is found, no concrete decision could be taken regarding the removal of high security zones in the Jaffna district, political sources said.

"No permanent peace has been reached. Only a temporary ceasefire is currently in force in the country. Hence the government has been forced to strengthen the security of the country and as such there is no room for any compromise regarding the removal of HSZ," said Mr.Marapone, according to media sources.

Mr.Marapone presided over a high level conference held at the office of the defense ministry Thursday evening at the request of the Hindu Affairs Minister, Mr. T.Maheswaran, regarding the resettlement of thousands of internally displaced families now languishing in refugee camps and welfare centres even after the ceasefire agreement came into operation, sources said.

Defense Ministry Secretary Mr. Austin Fernando, Minister Mr. T.Maheswaran, heads of three armed services, Jaffna district army commander Major General Sarath Fonseka, Jaffna government agent and divisional secretaries concerned participated at the conference, sources said

Minister Maheswaran brought to the notice of the conference the difficulties of the IDP families as they have been prevented from resettling in the lands and houses now being occupied by the security forces in the name of high security zones in the Jaffna district, sources said.

Mr. Maheswaran submitted several proposals to enable resettlement in HSZ.

The proposals included the resettlement of IDP families in Maravanpulo and Thanankilappu in the Thenmaradchchi division, coastal areas of Gurunagar, Pashaiyoor and Colombagam close to Jaffna lagoon and from Kudaththanai to Nagarkovil in the Vadamaradchchi east division.

Furthermore, it was suggested at the conference to allow resettlement of IDPs in some areas such as Punnalaikadduvan, Senthankulam, Keerimalai and Maviddapuram in Valigamam north high security zones, sources said.

SLA officials at the conference rejected all requests made by Minister Maheswaran and also refused to accept alternate suggestions placed before the Defense minister, sources said.

However, the SLA agreed to allow the re-opening of a government hospital in Adampan in Vadamarachchi east division, which is in an SLA-controlled area, sources said.

The conference concluded after about three hours without any decision on HSZ, the sources said.

 

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