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CC to meet donor agencies regularly

COLOMBO: The Disaster Management and Human Rights Ministry in a release said the Consultative Committees chaired by Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will meet on regular basis with key UN agencies, ICRC and EU representatives to address matters of common concern.

This decision was arrived at a meeting the President had with Ambassadors of Co-Chair countries.

The release:

"Following President Mahinda Rajapaksa's meeting with the Ambassadors of the Co-Chair countries, it was agreed that a Consultative Committee chaired by the Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister comprising the Secretary of the Defence, Public Policy and Law and Order Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, Commissioner General of Essential Services and the Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) would meet on a regular basis with key UN agencies, ICRC representatives and representatives of the European Commission (EU) to address matters of common concern."

The first of the fortnightly committee meetings, chaired by the Minister was held on October 14 to discuss matters pertaining to humanitarian assistance, access and the mandate of the representative agencies.

Julian Wison - Head of Delegation, European Commission, Juergen Weerth - the EU representative for the President and the Ambassador to Germany; Amin Awad - Acting Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator for the UN and Representative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Toon Vandenhove - Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and high level representatives from World Food Programme (WFP); UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA); United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF); and the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) were also present at the meeting.

The Consultative Committee Meetings will precede the National Coordination Meeting on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), chaired by the Minister, which are held monthly basis at the Ministry while the IDP Coordination Meeting will deal with policy matters involving the MOD, MOFA and CGES, the Consultative Committee Meeting will help implement these policy recommendations.

The Committee was informed by the Minister that the CGES had approved the requests submitted by the UN and the ICRC for transportation of logistical supplies, fuel, and medical supplies into the Vanni and building materials into Vakarai, Batticaloa.

The Defence Secretary requested that the UN agencies and the ICRC further facilitate the supply needs in the Jaffna Peninsula.

Other issues discussed at the meeting were visa matters of expatriate personnel and security concerns.

The next Consultative Committee Meeting will take place on November 03 under the chairmanship of the Minister, the release states.

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