Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: "We will not be dependent on aid" - President Rajapaksa

"If we are offered genuine aid we will take it; if not we will forget about aid and do our job. We will not be dependent on aid", said President Mahinda Rajapaksa commenting on the reported suspending of aid by the UK, addressing editors and media heads from the Sri Lankan media, at Temple Trees today.

When asked for his views on the reported stopping of aid by the UK Government, President Rajapaksa said this could be a reference to post-tsunami aid offered to Sri Lanka.

"We will use our own money. We cannot wait for assistance from any sources to carry out our responsibilities", the President added.

Referring to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons, President Rajapaksa said the work of resettlement in the East had been initiated and was being successfully done. The media had reported that there were several lakh IDPs in the East, but it was now known that the actual figure was much less. The delay in their resettlement was because the mines buried by the LTTE had to be cleared and the people had to be provided with necessary utilities before resettlement.

"Today, we use our own money for the resettlement work. We did not wait till the INGOs came with their money. The work is going on successfully. We are providing electricity to the people being resettled. New roads are being built in these areas. These are the causes for delays, but they are not reported", he said.

President Rajapaksa said he had told all officials carrying out resettlement work that there should be no difference in treatment for people from the South and the North and East. They should all be treated alike.

""The work of resettlement, whether the tsunami displaced or those displaced due to the conflict is the responsibility of the Government. We will discharge this obligation whether we get aid or not", the President said.