Govt. will now prioritise resettlement of old IDPs – Basil

Tuesday, 2 October 2012 00:46 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Minister of Economic Development and Senior Adviser to the President Basil Rajapaksa said that the Government will now give priority to resettle old IDPs. “We resettled all the IDPs who were displaced during the 2005-2009 period. The IDPs displaced before that period belong to all communities.

Some of them are in IDP camps in India and others are in temporary places in other provinces. It is a difficult task, but we will do it,” Minister Rajapaksa stated to the new American Ambassador in Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison when she paid a courtesy call him on Friday.

The Ambassador said, “I visited projects started under the US Aid programme to study the outcome of these projects. I was really impressed by the concept of bringing development projects to the each village in the North- East. These projects had real impact on the community’s livelihood.”

Rajapaksa said the Government was able to carry out North-Eastern reconstruction and rehabilitation works very successfully. Agriculture and fisheries sectors were fully restored and now Northern people produce rice, chillies and red onions at a pre conflict level.

They also produce other crops like black grams in large scale and now country is self-sufficient in black grams due to production from North he said. The fishing industry has also been restored to a pre conflict level by removing all the restriction on fishing and providing equipments to the fishing community.

Poverty reduction is a major issue the Government wants to resolve, giving it highest priority. The Government has identified three areas where poverty is prevailing above the other areas. They are the state sector, fishing sector and urban slum sector.

Foreign aid as well as local funds will be utilised to implement poverty reduction programs in all those sectors. Minister Rajapaksa said there are other priority areas such as providing

drinking water facilities for all, implementing projects aimed at reducing regional disparity and food securities.

The American Ambassador said incidents such as LTTE attacks on Anuradhapura sacred area was shocking. Many people suffered from the war. Now Sri Lankan people live in peace.  After 20-30 years of conflict there is much to do in order to bring normalcy. Foreign aid should

match the recipient country’s requirements and she further said, “The American Embassy in Sri Lanka is for all Sri Lankans.”

Sison, a career member of the US Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed by the US Senate as the US Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives. Ambassador-Designate Sison previously served as the US Ambassador to Lebanon, US Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and Assistant Chief of Mission in Baghdad, Iraq.

Her earlier assignments include service as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs; Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad, Pakistan (1999-2002); Consul General/Principal Officer in Chennai, India; Consul General/Principal Officer in Douala, Cameroon; and tours in Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, and Haiti.

Sison also served as the State Department’s Director of Career Development and Assignments.  She is the recipient of numerous State Department awards as well as the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and the US Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.

Pic by Chaminda hittatiya