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Kouchner, Miliband want to visit Sri Lanka again

[DailyMirror, Monday, 28 September 2009 08:31 No Comment]

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his British counterpart David Milliband have indicated their wish to visit Sri Lanka again to access the situation facing IDPs in the north. This was communicated to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in New York, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Bogollagama met his French and British counterparts at the UN Headquarters in New York on Friday. The meeting was a follow up to the discussions which took place when Minister Kouchner and Foreign Secretary Milliband visited Sri Lanka in April this year at the invitation of Minister Bogollagama. 

The two Ministers  sought from the Sri Lankan side the progress made with regard to the conditions in the IDP welfare villages, resettlement of IDPs including clarification on whether returnees are being relocated to other closed facilities and the political agenda. 

On the resettlement of the displaced persons the French and British Ministers sought to make the Government of Sri Lanka abide by the time frame and the related numbers originally indicated for this purpose.  However, Foreign Minister Bogollagama opined that the process could be maintained in that manner, if the Government had the ability to accelerate de-mining, which was has been hampered by the paucity of adequate equipment while having trained personnel available.  He said that though some part of the international community was already assisting, others of this fraternity should also seek to assist. 

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