UN chief vows to support Rajapaksa in strengthening peace

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday congratulated Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on winning second term in office and assured him of support from the world body in his efforts to strengthen peace in the country.

Colombo: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
on Wednesday congratulated Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on
winning second six-year term in office in the January 26 polls
and assured him of all support from the world body in his
efforts to strengthen peace and reconciliation in the country.

During a 25-minute telephonic conversation with the
President, Ban wished success to Rajapaksa in strengthening
peace and reconciliation and said the UN would support his
efforts in this regard.
Rajapaksa, who had trounced opposition candidate and
former army chief Sarath Fonseka in the Presidential polls,
apprised the UN chief of current political developments in the
country, including the dissolution of Parliament for the April
8 elections.

He briefed Ban about his government`s commitment to
preventing divisions harmful to democracy and conducting
another peaceful election, the Presidential secretariat said
in a statement.

Rajapaksa informed the UN Secretary General that
infrastructure development was the urgent priority of the
government, both in the North and East which have been freed
from the LTTE control as well as in other parts of the
country.

The government would be appreciative of assistance in
this regard, he said while discussing with the UN Secretary
General the role of NGOs in humanitarian and development
works.

Rajapaksa expressed his government`s willingness to work
with international organisations, emphasising the need for
foreign NGOs to be accountable and transparent in their work,
in view of previous experience in this regard, the statement
said.

With regard to the special development work in the
North, Ban was told that this was being handled by Basil
Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to the President who was fully
involved with the task.
On human rights and related issues, particularly those
relating to the concluding stages of operations to defeat the
LTTE, the President said an independent committee appointed by
him was looking into the contents of the related reports.

Rajapaksa said that once this committee submits its
report, further action would be taken as considered necessary
to bring about greater post-conflict reconciliation.

The UN Secretary General was told that the government
looked forward to further progress both in the economic and
development spheres, with the participation of investors and
other assistance from abroad.

The telephone conversation was initiated by the UN
Secretary General`s office, the statement said.

PTI

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