Australia reaffirms commitment to reconciliation process

Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.

The commitment was given when Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells visited the Northern Province, the Australian High Commission in Colombo said today.

During her visit Minister Fierravanti-Wells met the Chief Minister, Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran, to reaffirm Australia’s ongoing commitment to the development of the province and support for Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process.

Since 2009, Australia has provided more than AUD250 million to support the reconstruction of conflict-affected communities in the North and East.  Australian support has included housing and local infrastructure construction, de-mining, education, and a wide range of economic and business activities.

The Minister visited a crab processing plant in Iranaimatha Nagar, Poonakary in the Killinochchi District. This Australian-supportedjoint venture is exporting Sri Lankan crab to the United States. The venture has created work for the local community which was displaced during the conflict.

“The business model of linking producers directly with exporters has not only created jobs, but high quality jobs” said the Minister. “And importantly it has created jobs for women”.

The Minister also met with resettled families in Valikamam North, who had benefited from the Australia – World Bank ‘North East Local Services Improvement Program’ (NELSIP). Australia has contributed more than $25 million to NELSIP, supporting the reconstruction of critical economic infrastructure across the North and East including roads, market places and water systems. (Colombo Gazette)