Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday made an unannounced visit to Puthukkudiyirippu, the scene of the final battle between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan security forces, and dedicated a monument to the memory of the soldiers who died fighting the Tigers.

He also reached out to the Tamil community with a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu and addressing war displaced Tamil civilians at the Manik Farm complex in Vavuniya.

In his speech Mr. Rajapaksa reiterated his commitment to resettling the nearly three lakh war displaced Tamil civilians by January 31. He received a warm response from the audience and later interacted with people in the crowd. At the Madhu church, he attended a special mass along with the war displaced.

In another development on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told Parliament that the government would act to acquire LTTE assets overseas and use them for the development activities in the country.

He was responding to a question by Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera about the fate of large quantities of gold recovered from the LTTE. The opposition UNP also requested the government to reveal information extracted from LTTE international wing leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, who is in custody

Mr. Wickremanayake said intelligence authorities were now gathering information on LTTE assets, and the progress of such investigations could not be revealed prematurely.

“We know that the gold reserves recovered from the LTTE were handed over to the government on November 26. We also heard that a lot of information on LTTE assets such as ships has been extracted from KP. There is information about 600 bank accounts maintained by the LTTE all over the world,” said Mr. Perera.

In his response the Prime Minister said that investigations had been launched with regard to the gold items seized from the LTTE and on ships Mr. Wickremenayake said that some of them had been destroyed by the Sri Lanka Navy and the intelligence wings were now trying to verify information about the remainders.

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