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Australia reaffirms support for Sri Lanka’s reconciliation

(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – Australia extended all support to rebuild Sri Lanka’s war-battered North and East regions and reaffirmed its commitment to the government’s reconciliation process with Tamils, the Press Trust of India reported.

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells visited the the Northern Province and met Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran.

During the meeting, she reaffirmed 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 250 million dollar 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 Australian minister visited a crab processing plant in Iranaimatha Nagar, Poonakary in the Killinochchi District.

This Australian-supported joint venture is exporting Sri Lankan crab to the US. 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. And importantly it has created jobs for women,” she said.

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.

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