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Clinton seeks political reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Noting that escalating violence has hindered tsunami recovery efforts, the former US President has sought political rconciliation.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 15:13 IST

Noting that escalating violence in Sri Lanka has hindered tsunami recovery efforts, former United States President Bill Clinton has sought political reconciliation in the island nation.

Clinton, whose two-year term as special envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for Tsunami recovery ends on December 31, stressed the need for continued efforts to make communities less vulnerable from any such disaster in the future and rebuild houses destroyed when the tsunami hit several countries.

Addressing the final meeting of the Global Consortium for Tsunami recovery, Clinton asserted that the signs of recovery are visible in the affected areas and that more than 200,000 houses have been rebuilt, repaired or are being constructed.

Talking about the progress made since he took over the job, he said economies of the affected regions have rebounded but still several challenges remained.

Tens of thousands of homes must still be built, and other major challenges include re-establishing basic infrastructure to promoting private sector development, he added.

"Even with the progress we've made on disaster reduction, we must do much more to build national risk reduction capacities and educate local populations.

I am very encouraged that the members of the Global Consortium have committed to sustaining their efforts in this multi-year reconstruction effort," he added.

One of the tasks of the former American President was to hold the donor government to the commitment they had made and help raise million of dollars needed for the reconstruction programme.

Wednesday's was the fifth meeting of the Global Consortium, an assembly of international organisations, the Red Cross movement, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donor countries and the governments of Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India (the five countries most severely affected by the tsunami).

Clinton also addressed the growing consensus on key lessons emerging from the tsunami recovery experience - to make communities less vulnerable to natural hazards, by embedding risk mitigation into all aspects of the recovery process and stressed that aid programmes must put local communities in charge.

In a message, Annan praised the contribution made by Clinton in the recovery effort and said he had made "profound difference" to the well-being of millions of tsunami survivors.

"You have kept the world focused on the imperative of tsunami recovery, you have advanced coordination at the country and global levels, and you have promoted transparency and accountability," he told Clinton.

Most important, Annan said Clinton has "effectively championed" a new kind of recovery that not only restores what existed previously, but goes beyond, to build back better -- seizing the moral, political, managerial, and financial opportunities that the crisis has offered.

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 15:13 IST