Sri Lanka's ambassador meets key senate forign relations chairman
Aug 14, 2009
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya met with Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, on Wednesday, August 5, 2009.
Senator Casey and Ambassador Wickramasuriya discussed Sri Lanka’s reconciliation efforts and the conditions of the centers for civilians displaced by the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya explained Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s plan for redeveloping the Northern province following the government’s victory in May over the LTTE. He also informed Senator Casey of the progress made in the centers for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and of the government’s plan to return most of the IDPs to their homes within 180 days.
Senator Casey was pleased to hear that 10,000 IDPs have already been resettled in the northern cities of Jaffna and Mannar, and that 10,000 senior citizens have been moved to the homes of relatives or homes for the elderly.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya advised that such resettlements are continuing on a daily basis.
The Ambassador also stressed the need to return civilians to communities that are free of landmines and weapons concealed by the LTTE. He described the urgent need for assistance in Sri Lanka’s de-mining efforts.
Senator Casey pledged the US support for de-mining efforts in the North, noting that the resettlement of the IDPs was essential.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya also briefed Senator Casey on the Aug. 8 regional elections as a first step toward the implementation of a political solution to reconcile differences with Sri Lanka’s Tamil population.
At the conclusion of the very positive meeting, Ambassador Wickramasuriya urged Senator Casey to speak to a broad cross section of Tamil Sri Lankans living in the US. He also invited the Senator Casey to visit Sri Lanka to assess the situation.