|UN Under-Secretary-General Sir John Holmes to visit Sri Lanka|
|Wednesday, 18 February 2009 10:59|
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has requested the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to arrange a visit to Sri Lanka by one of his colleagues with a view to familiarize himself with the initiatives undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the humanitarian needs of civilians and IDPs held hostage by the LTTE in the North of Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, during a telephone conversation yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama invited Sir John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka. It was agreed that during his visit from 19th to 22nd February 2009, Sir John would consult with the UN country team and strengthen ongoing joint efforts by the Government, UN Agencies and ICRC in addressing the immediate needs of the civilian population in the North, as well as address the long term needs of IDPs escaping from uncleared areas.
During his visit, Sir John is scheduled to call on President Rajapaksa and to engage in wide ranging discussions with the Foreign Minister, as well as several line Ministries addressing the current humanitarian situation. He will also visit Vavuniya accompanied by the Senior Adviser to the President ,Basil Rajapaksa to have a first hand briefing on the extensive facilities and arrangements put in place by the Government to receive the IDPs escaping from the LTTE as well as to ensure their protection and to provide them necessary assistance.
The Government of Sri Lanka looks forward to a productive engagement with the visiting UN Under Secretary General the context of the current humanitarian situation, and recalls with appreciation his previous visit to Sri Lanka.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
18 February 2009