Colombo initiates developmental projects in the South and re-settlement drives in the East; Muslim refugees to form a political party; Saudi Arabia to help develop Sri Lankan oil and gas industry
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  • Reports noted that the Sri Lankan government was following a multi-pronged strategy to counter the LTTE, including making efforts to improve the developmental process in the South. The Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development for instance allocated Rs. 2.5 billion for the region, primarily to strengthen local governance structures1. In a similar initiative towards peace-building, a resettlement drive in the East commenced with nearly 500 people belonging to over 100 families from the Pallikudiruppu and Muttur areas having been shifted to other areas2. The military campaign meanwhile intensified with the death of over 100 rebels during the past week, most of who were accounted for in the battles in the North3. Reports also noted that Muslim civilians who had survived the civil war and who were living in refugee camps had decided to form a political party to more effectively find solutions to the various issues being faced by these refugees4.

    In other developments, the Sri Lanka government launched an international campaign to seek support for its candidature to the UN Human Rights Council. The effort was being seen as an attempt to counter international criticism over its poor human rights record5.

    Saudi Arabia would be investing in Sri Lanka to develop oil and refinery projects with the goal of increasing its generating capability from 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 100,000 bpd6.

    With reports indicating that the LTTE had been receiving training in Palestinian camps in Syria and Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asserted governments cannot capitulate in the face of terrorism. Olmert also voiced his support to the Sri Lanka position over the issue7.