A special meeting of the Sri Lankan Cabinet chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa was held on Wednesday in the northern provincial town of Kilinochchi, the de-facto political capital of the LTTE till January 2009.

The meeting, first of its kind outside the national capital, is part of an initiative by the President to hold them in all the districts once a month.

The customary weekly meetings of the Cabinet are held either at the presidential or the Prime Minister's office. By choosing Kilinochchi for the first session, Mr. Rajapaksa has sought to send out a message that the writ of Colombo now runs in all parts of the nation.

Early January 2009, Kilinochchi fell to the advancing Army, which in a way marked the beginning of the end of the LTTE saga under Prabakaran.

Besides the two-hour Cabinet session, Mr. Rajapaksa reviewed the construction work in the former war zone and interacted with recently resettled war-displaced Tamil civilians, his office said.

Addressing officials, he said the time had come for everyone to join in serving the people sans political differences and commit to rebuild the lives of the people who suffered for 30 years due to terrorism.

A section of the opposition has criticised the move as wasteful expenditure and moderate Tamil voices have said the regime should have been more sensitive to the war-torn people of the area who are still in the process of resettling.

But government spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the initiative had brought the administration closer to the people.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said the military camps in Wanni sector, Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi are there to stay and will help gather intelligence in a better manner than ever.

Addressing the top army brass in the region, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said there is no need for the army now to be seen with weapons always but all have to be alert to ground realities and should work jointly to promote gathering of intelligence in a better organized manner than ever.

Local Tamil groups have been raising voice against the heavy deployment of army in the region.

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