President Chandrika Kumaratunga today received Norway’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Development Mr. Jan Peterson and Ms. Hilde F. Johnson at President’s House.
The two Norwegian Ministers conveyed their sincere condolences to the Government and People of Sri Lanka and expressed their deep sympathy to the victims of the tsunami tragedy. They assured the President of the continuous support and assistance of the Royal Norwegian Government in the rehabilitation efforts.
The President thanked the visiting Ministers for the Norwegian assistance and briefed them on the steps taken by the Government with the support of local NGOs and the International Community to organize rescue and relief measures. Explaining the magnitude of the disaster she added that plans for the next phase of rebuilding has been completed in the shortest possible time as a basis for an inclusive and transparent discussion with all political parties, the LTTE, NGOs and civil society.
The visitors viewed a presentation made by Mr. Mano Tittawella and Dr. Tara de Mel on statistics, plans, proposed implementation measures and rescue and relief efforts conducted under the aegis of respective Task Forces. The presentation revealed the needs-driven, non-discriminatory nature of the relief undertaken since the 26th of December and significant share of resources proposed for rebuilding in the North and East.
Minister Hilde Johnson expressed her appreciation of the work done towards recovery. She emphasized the need for donor coordination and for donors to relate to Sri Lanka’s national plans. Foreign Minister Peterson said Indonesia and Sri Lanka being the two most affected Norwegian assistance will focus on these two countries. The Norwegian delegate said they proposed to visit the South and the North East in order to see the tsunami damage for themselves.
Associated with the Norwegian Ministers were Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen, Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Special Advisor Erik Solheim and other officials of the Royal Norwegian Government. Present at today’s discussion were Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, Secretary to the President W J S Karunaratne, SG of the Peace Secretariat Jayantha Dhanapala, Foreign Secretary H M G S Palihakkara, Rehabilitation Ministry Secretary M S Jayasinghe, Public Security Secretary Tilak Ranaviraja and other senior officials.
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