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Sri Lanka: Overseas Aid

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent discussions the Government have had with President Rajapakse on aid to the Tamil people of north-east Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement; (128030)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the people of north-east Sri Lanka following the blocking of the main road route into the area; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I met the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 7 March. My hon. Friend, the Minister for the Middle East met the Sri Lankan President on 15 February. At these meetings we discussed the impact of the conflict on civilians of all ethnic groups and how the UK could best assist progress towards a settlement of Sri Lanka's tragic conflict.

In September 2006 DFID gave US$1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN for immediate humanitarian assistance. We are considering how to respond to the UN's latest request for funding to its 2007 Common Humanitarian Action Plan.