|Resettlement & Reconciliation my priorities – President on IDPs|
|Thursday, 09 July 2009 11:12|
“Aware of and addressing concerns about Freedom of Movement”
“Ready for political solution with renewed mandate”
My personal feeling is that as soon as possible, we have to re-settle these people. We have to send them to the villages. … I can’t send them to a place without basic facilities. Now we’re spending on electricity, on roads, on water. We can’t send them back to a place where there are just jungles, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview on the status of the Internally Displaced Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka’s North, with N. Ram the Editor in Chief of the Hindu.
We must send them to places where they can stay. My problem is that we have to get the certificate of de-mining from the U.N. …As soon as we get the clearance; I’m ready to do that. Every square centimetre has been mined by the LTTE. If something happens, I am responsible, the President added.
Here are some of the highlights of the first part of the interview published in the Hindutoday, July 06, 09,
Facilities: I would say the condition in our camps is the best any country has…. We supply the water, the water tanks; we have spent over [Sri Lankan] Rs. 2 billion. Giving electricity, giving water, now we are giving televisions to them. They have telephone facilities. Schools have been established. Some of the leaders are using mobile phones.
Sanitary conditions: There is a problem with lavatories. That is not because of our fault. The money that comes from the EU and others, it goes to the NGOs and the U.N. They are very slow; disbursing money is very slow.
LTTE mystique: Suddenly that [LTTE] leadership vanished, after thirty years. Immediately they couldn’t digest it. Many of them know he was wrong. It will take time. Some of these people, the older people, can’t accept it yet. Still …..Their propaganda machinery is alive, to get the money….. Now, to collect money again, somebody will have to plan something here. Just one incident. Just to upset the world and then to show they have started the movement – so that they can continue to collect the money. They think that will help. But we are very vigilant.
Tamil language: We are paying people in the public service for learning Tamil, to encourage them…….Let them learn, let them learn. I can remember that in 1970 as a young MP I said that we must teach all Sinhalese Tamil and all Tamils Sinhala. If that had happened, I think there would have been a different world.
Political solution: I am waiting for them. The TNA representatives must come and participate in the discussions [on the political solution]. I am getting delayed because they haven’t done this yet. ….I am waiting but it will be after my [re-]election [as President]. I must get the mandate. After that, the political solution comes. Even tomorrow I can give that — but I want to get that from the people
No way for federalism in this country. For reconciliation to happen, there must be a mix [of ethnicities]…..This is Sri Lankan society. No one can change this.
For Full text of Part 1 of the interview published today (July 06) go to:
www.hinduonnet.com – “Breaking news and Updates” and go to
I have a political solution in mind but I want to get that from the people: President Rajapaksa