Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Allow 'free access' to aid agencies: Former PM tells Lanka

(ZeeNews) Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe on Monday asked the Government to allow "free access" to aid agencies to camps where the displaced Tamil civilians are lodged.

He also said the Government should try to resettle at least 80 per cent of the displaced civilians in their towns and villages by this year.

"ICRC and the UN relief agencies should be given free access for development of Wanni and rehabilitation of the refugees. We need international help. This year government should target 80-90 per cent resettlement of the Tamil people in Wanni," he told reporters.

"The UN agencies should be allowed free access to the IDP camps," he said.

Wickremasinghe said while President Mahinda Rajapaksa "finished the LTTE and terrorism" in the country, other Sri Lankan leaders also played a role in defeating the Tiger rebels by weakening the outfit.

"During my period, the Ceasefire Agreement was brought which to a great extend weakened LTTE during 2002-04," he said, adding that at least 4,000 tiger rebels had surrendered during that time, he said.

He said his party is willing to help the government in rehabilitating and resettling the displaced people.