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Bogollagama meets his Danish and Jordanian counterparts in New York

(September 24, New York, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is imperative to maintain the screening and registration of the IDPs as a local process as being carried out at present, emphasized Foreign Minister Bogollagama during his discussion today (22/09) in New York with his Danish counterpart Per Stig Moeller. He stated that while 162,000 had been screened there was still another about 100,000 to be completed. He pointed out it was through this screening process that information was obtained on the location of unexploded mines and ordnance buried by the terrorists which were being unearthed. He said that it is a month since the conditions were being put in place for resettlement and referred to this process which had already begun in Jaffna and Mannar.

Minister Bogollagama thanked the Danish Minister for the humanitarian assistance received through DANIDA which includes demining where 400 persons are being financed. He outlined the steps being taken with regard to the resettlement of IDPs and pointed out the need for the international community’s understanding of the related challenges the Government of Sri Lanka has to face. He expressed confidence that the Government would be able to resettle 80% by the end of January 2010.

Minister Moeller thanked Sri Lanka for welcoming the Danish Human Rights Ambassador on a visit which had facilitated a comprehensive briefing. He warned that it would be dangerous to continue to keep large numbers of displaced persons together in a camp and therefore it is important for them to return to the places they inhabited.

The Sri Lankan Minister explained the Government’s orientation towards the resettlement process of the displaced on a priority basis. He also pointed out that the education system has been established even in the welfare centers for the displaced thereby enabling students to sit island-wide examinations and some beginning their education for the first time. The Minister referring to the GSP plus review process on Sri Lanka stated that domestic industrialists are establishing their businesses in the North and upheld the need for the continuance of the preferential treatment as its denial would have a detrimental effect on an area which is emerging from the ravages of war. He invited Minister Moeller to visit Sri Lanka in order to experience at first hand the developments in Sri Lanka.

Minister Bogollagama also met with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in New York today (22/9) and while briefing him on the developments in the post-conflict phase thanked Jordan for their support on Sri Lanka in international fora. He extended President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s greetings to His Majesty the King of Jordan and pointed out the need to structure the relations to be more productive between the two countries. They discussed the roles played by the two countries in other international groupings such as G11, SAARC, G15 and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue. Minister Bogollagama proposed that Royal Jordanian Airlines should have increased frequencies to Sri Lanka. He also flagged the issue of having better access to the tea market by examining the duty component levied on our export of tea.

Minister Judeh also conveyed the greetings of His Majesty the King to the President of Sri Lanka. He said that Jordan was pleased that Sri Lanka had defeated terrorism and was confident that the humanitarian requirements would be met. He briefed the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on the developments in the Middle East and hoped that the meeting to facilitate peace in that region convened between the US, Palestine and Israel would have a positive outcome. He opined that this meeting is another milestone in the negotiation of peace in the Middle East. In a regional sense the settlement must be comprehensive he said. Minister Bogollagama stated that Sri Lanka continues with its stance for the establishment of a State of Palestine and to ensure peace in the region.

Jordanian Minister informed that he would seek to visit Sri Lanka before the end of this year.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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