EU assures support to North-East development

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 February 2004, 15:22 GMT]
Mr. John Cushnahan, Member of the European Parliament, Friday assured the visiting delegation of the Liberation Tigers’ political division in Brussels, Belgium, that the European Union would provide support for the rehabilitation and development of the North-East, LTTE sources said.

The EU co-chairs the group of donor nations providing aid to Sri Lanka, along with the U.S., Japan and Norway. The group has pledged about $4.5 billion in aid to Sri Lanka over several years, but the political crisis in Colombo has made it uncertain, and it is not known how much of the aid would actually reach Sri Lanka.

LTTE Team in Belgium
Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, Head of the LTTE political wing, meets with Mr. John Walls Cushnahan, member of the European Parliament. Photo/LTTE.

The LTTE delegation, led by Mr. S.P.Thamilchelvan, the head of the political division, briefed members of the European parliament on the immediate rehabilitation needs of the people of the North-East and explained the development plans formulated to meet urgent humanitarian needs, the sources said.

Mr. Thamilchelvan also stressed the importance of providing rehabilitation and development aid directly to the North-East as Sri Lanka has a tendency of diverting aid funds for “partisan political purposes” in the South without providing aid to rehabilitation in the North-East, the sources said.

Several Tamil groups, including the LTTE, have repeatedly pointed out that aid normally provided to the Government of Sri Lanka rarely ends up in development projects in the North-East and often gets diverted to other projects in the South or gets lost as a result of the endemic corruption in Sri Lanka.

A large number of internally displaced people continue to languish in refugee camps and welfare centers in the North-East, unable to resettle in their homes in areas declared as High Security Zones (HSZ) by the Sri Lanka Armed forces, and people in general have not seen any progress in the economic situation. The power struggle between the President and Prime Minister in Colombo--and many Sri Lankans allege that endemic corruption in the GOSL--has also made it impossible to disburse donor funds for any serious rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the North-East.

Some donor nations, however, are said to be interested in finding ways to provide aid directly to the North-East for rehabilitation and development.

According to the LTTE sources, Mr. Cushnahan has assured Mr. Thamilchelvan that he would impress on the international community that it would be reasonable to find an arrangement to provide aid directly to the developmental organizations in the North-East.

External Links:
LTTE: EU determines to grant continued support to NorthEast development


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