Published on March 11, 2010   ·   No Comments

The Head of the UK Diplomatic Service, Permanent Under Secretary Sir Peter Ricketts visited Sri Lanka on 10 March and had talks with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, government officials, civil society groups, humanitarian agencies and diplomats.

In his discussion with Bogollogama, Sir Peter said he welcomed the progress made towards releasing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the camps in Vavuniya and resettling them in their homes, explaining that the UK wanted to help Sri Lanka restore full freedom of movement to all IDPs, to complete the resettlement process and to help civilians rebuild their lives. Sir Peter encouraged the Foreign Minister to allow humanitarian organisations to play a full role in this process.

Sir Peter and the Foreign Minister also discussed efforts to reach a political solution to the causes of the recent conflict, observing that the end of the war and the recent strong mandate given to President Mahinda Rajapakse had opened up an historic opportunity to make significant progress towards this goal. He added that the upcoming parliamentary elections were an important part of political efforts to resolve the conflict and assured Sri Lanka of UK support for all efforts of the Election Commissioner to ensure a free and fair poll.

In an exchange of views on the UK Foreign Secretary’s recent participation in a Global Tamil Forum conference in London, the British side explained that Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministers and officials regularly engaged with expatriate Sri Lankans from all communities to encourage them to support peaceful efforts to achieve peace in Sri Lanka.Sir Peter urged GTF members to maintain their commitment to peaceful methods and to support domestic attempts within Sri Lanka to achieve a political solution.

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