B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has asserted that the departure of UN and other aid agencies from the LTTE-held areas in Wanni would not come in the way of help to the internally displaced and humanitarian work. In an interview with the state-owned weekly, Sunday Observer, Mr. Rajapaksa argued that “a well-organised government mechanism” is in place and operations in the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullathivu.

He said the government took the decision to direct the UN and other agencies to move out of LTTE-held areas to avoid unfortunate incidents. Aid workers were given deadlines to reach government-controlled areas but if they “continue to remain defying instructions,” the government could not take responsibility for their safety in future, he added. The government is keen to ensure safety of the UN staff and as the military steps up its offensive, the UN was told to set up offices in Vavuniya. It could hand over the relief to government agents, he said.