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Monday, January 14, 2013 - 04.25 GMT

Tamil Diaspora in US extremely supportive of northern development – Ambassador


The Tamil Diaspora in the United States is now extremely supportive of development of the north, having seen the true potential of the area since the cessation of hostilities, says Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Washington Jaliya Wickremasuriya in an interview with the Sunday Island.

Those who have visited especially in the north are amazed at the development potential there and have already invested in hotels, motels, agricultural projects and others and want to continue that process, The Island reported quoting the Ambassador.

He also said that there were some who were clamoring to spend part of the year in Sri Lanka and the balance in the US and they want the process and the formalities of having dual citizenship expedited so that they could continue with their investment projects here.

He also mentioned a case of a Tamil lady in Boston who thought that she will never be able to get to Sri Lanka and Jaffna to comply with a wish of her late father to have his ashes interred at their Jaffna home.

She was delighted to see their old family residence intact and was able to comply with the wish of her father. She had converted her family home into a hotel now.

``When she had reservations about being able to get to Jaffna, all I told her was to get to Sri Lanka and tell me whether she had a problem going to Jaffna. She returned to Boston and told me that all was well in the northern peninsula,’’ Ambassador Wickremasuriya said.
The perceptions of the Tamil diaspora are fast changing now. They had thought that the north was still the same war-ravaged place they knew when they left Sri Lanka, he said.

He also said that any US Congressman or Senator, media personality, tourist or businessman was most welcome to visit the north and the east to see the reality. Those critical of the situation in those area was less than one percent comprising persons with an agenda of their own. All others saw the positives.

There were 400,000 Sri Lankans scattered all over the US of which over 75% were Sinhalese, but there was no ethnic discrimination at all against any of them, Ambassador Wickremasuriya remarked.

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