UK envoy John Rankin on north tour

unnamed34British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, visited the north today and had talks with Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP and Managing Director of the Uthayan newspaper E. Sarawanabavan and also visited a demining site in Muhamalai.

The demining site is operated by the UK based demining agency, The Halo Trust. Commenting on the visit to the site, the British High Commissioner said the UK is a long-time supporter of demining in Sri Lanka.

“We have provided 3.5 million pounds from 2010-2014. The latest funding programme – which was announced by our Prime Minister David Cameron during CHOGM last year – is worth 1.6 million pounds (3.5 billion rupees). It began in July this year and will continue for 18 months,” he said.

John Rankin said that funding for The HALO Trust supports the clearing of mines and explosive ordinance focusing on heavily-contaminated parts of the north, particularly in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, as well as related mine risk education activities and capacity building with the Sri Lankan government.

He said that demining is a vital post-conflict activity and he was pleased to see first-hand the UK’s contribution to restoring safety to communities and allowing land to be put back to productive use. (Colombo Gazette)