US would continue to exert pressure on the government for a sustainable solution

Tamil Chief Minister Wiggy spells out concerns to Power

Jaffna : United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (L) plays Elle with Muslim girls at the Osmaniay College in Jaffna on November 22, 2015. Power is the second member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet to visit Sri Lanka in six months after Secretary John Kerry

Jaffna : United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (L) plays Elle with Muslim girls at the Osmaniay College in Jaffna on November 22, 2015. Power is the second member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet to visit Sri Lanka in six months after Secretary John Kerry

Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran during his meeting with US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, raised a number of issues concerning political prisoners, land rights and military presence in Jaffna.

One of the main issues discussed during the 35 minute meeting was that of political prisoners.

Power assured that the US Embassy would continue to exert pressure on the government for a sustainable solution, Northern Province Education Minister Thambyrajah Gurukularajah, who was also at the meeting said.

Wigneswaran highlighted his concerns over continued militarisation in the Northern Province as it has serious implications on the daily life of Northern people, he said.

The Chief Minister had also voiced concern on the government’s budgetary allocations for the defence sector, which according to him yet remains high despite the war ending in 2009.

Wigenswaran had told the media that he feels the extra money spent to boost the defence sector could be utilised for Northern development.

Highlighting the concerns he has regarding the issue of land rights of the Northern people, Wigneswaran told Power that even six years later, the military still continues to occupy houses and lands belonging to the Tamil people, which seriously curtail their day to day lives and economic activities.

Power had said that the concerns will be raised at the government level, where the US will exert pressure on the government to work towards a solution.

He has also registered his concerns over the slow pace of development projects in the province, stating that even though the government is keen on serving the people in the north, certain groups in the south are hampering the process.

Power also held discussions with Northern Province Governor H.M.G.S. Palihakkara on development plans for the North.

She also visited the headquarters of the Uthayan newspaper, the Jaffna based newspaper which faced a number of attacks during the conflict period.

Her visit to the North also included the inauguration of a new wing of Osmania College, which suffered significant damage during the conflict, as well as a tour of the Jaffna Library, where she announced a US grant of Rs. 1.5 million for the restoration of ancient Tamil manuscripts.