UK Minister Visits Northern Sri Lanka: Pleased to see progress still Challenges remain - Alistair Burt
Visiting UK Minister Alistair Burt went to the North of the country on the first day of his visit to Sri Lanka, holding a range of meetings and opening a youth project designed to facilitate country-wide reconciliation.
Minister Alistair Burt is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister for South Asia and is currently in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit
Ahead of this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM), Mr Burt was able to see developments that have occurred in the region since his last visit two years ago, and the work that remains to be done, following thirty years of conflict. He was able to talk to people who had suffered the brutality of the LTTE, which remains a banned organisation in the UK.
During a visit to the Keppapilavu relocation site, Mr Burt saw the continuing challenges faced daily by those who were displaced by the conflict. He expressed his hope that they would soon be able to return to their homes, or to other suitable areas.
The Sri Lanka Unites reconciliation centre at Mulliayawelai was funded by the British High Commission, Colombo.
As Guest of Honor at the opening of Sri Lanka Unites’ reconciliation centre at Mulliayawelai, the Minister saw how the UK is helping to support sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the event, Mr Burt said:
“I have been pleased to see progress in some areas since the end of the conflict. The destructive force of war – tearing lives, families, societies and countries apart – is only too evident in this part of the country. It is great to see young Sri Lankans leading efforts to heal wounds and to unite Sri Lankans of all backgrounds in the task of reconciliation and recovery.
This Sri Lanka Unites reconciliation centre, together with others due to be established in other parts of the country, will help to bridge the divide between the North and the South. Such centres will foster communication and understanding across the island. Sri Lanka Unites is helping to empower young people to build a strong, stable, prosperous and united future. I am delighted to be able to support their efforts.”
In the North, the Minister also met the Mullaitivu Government Agent, Mr N Vethanayakam, and NGOs working in the area. These included the HALO Trust, a British organisation which is conducting de-mining in the North with £3 million of UK Government support.
- Asian Tribune -