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Clinton expresses hope on joint mechanism for Tsunami reconstruction

[TamilNet, Monday, 21 February 2005, 10:37 GMT]
Expressing hope on a joint mechanism for reconstruction of Sri Lanka's tsunami-shattered coastal areas, US ex-president Bill Clinton Monday said that he was informed Sunday night that the Liberation Tigers (LTTE) and the Sri Lanka Government were working together to create such a mechanism for tsunami relief. "My experience is, whether it is Middle East or Northern Ireland, whenever people work together on specific issues, it helps to resolve the differences," media sources said Clinton as saying. The ex-US presidents met with Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga Sunday night.

George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Clinton and Bush talking to media

Clinton who is also the United Nations' Special Envoy for tsunami relief, noted that it was a positive sign that the 3 year long Cease Fire agreement was holding.

Responding to another queston, Clinton said that they [US Ex-presidents] were not on a political mission, sources said.

A US embassy press release on Thursday said that the visit comes at the request of current President Bush and was not connected to any role President Clinton might take up with the United Nations once he returns to the United States.

George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Clinton and Bush
George HW Bush, talking to media, reminded that Sri Lanka is famous for tourism and said speedy efforts are needed to revive the tourism industry.

George HW Bush and Bill Clinton were flown to Koggala airbase and from there to Polwathumodera, a Sinhala village in Matara District, where US Agency for International Development (USAID) was engaged in constructing temporary shelters for tsunami victims. They were accompanied by Sri Lanka's Media Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera.

George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Ex-US Presidents viewing tsunami-drawings by children i Polwathumodera

The Presidents who spent around 45 minutes at the site also visited a Children's Park and viewed drawings by tsunami affected children.

Tight security was provided by Sri Lankan military personnel belonging to Special Task Force (STF), Sri Lankan Navy (SLN), Sri Lanka Army (SLA), Sri Lankan Police, Sri Lankan Presidential Security and by US officers belonging to the US Secret Service. Some of the US Secret Service Agents were seen wearing Sri Lankan batik shirts.

Meanwhile, a media release issued by the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat on Monday said that the Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her officials had sought trade concessions particularly in the apparel sector for the next two to three years. US assistance in easing Sri Lanka's debt service commitments was also discussed, the media release added.

Both the former US Presidents were scheduled to leave for Maldives from Colombo Monday evening.









George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri LankaGeorge HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Clinton and Bush listening to Dishani Suranthika who lost her brother in the East. Her brother was a Sri Lankan navy cadre serving in the east. Dishani lost her house in PolwathumoderaBush carrying Dishani's 2 years old son
George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri LankaGeorge HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Former presidents talking to USAID officer engaged in providing temporary sheltersFormer US presidents among children
George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri LankaGeorge HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Clinton holding tsunami-drawings by childrenClinton talking to media
George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri LankaGeorge HW Bush, Bill Clinton, US ex-presidents visit Sri Lanka
Bush among the childrenSri Lankan security personnel providing security for visiting former US presidents

 

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