HC Deb 11 January 1999 vol 323 c80W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka last visited the Jaffna area; whom he met; and what report he has submitted on his discussions and views regarding that meeting. [64522]

Mr. Fatchett

Our High Commissioner last visited Jaffna on 20 and 21 August 1998. This was his third visit since 1996. Other officials from the High Commission have also made regular visits.

The High Commissioner met the Government Agent, the Vicar General, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, members of the aid community, the Headmistress of a girl's school, and the Major and Municipal councillors.

His report highlighted a number of areas where Britain might be able to offer some development assistance. These are being pursued.

He also gave a short speech at the Municipal Council office when he observed that there had been much progress in the development of Jaffna since his first visit and appealed to Tamil communities outside Sri Lanka to contribute to the reconstruction of Jaffna.

Mr. Love

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Government of Sri Lanka regarding a resolution of the continuing conflict with the Tamil community; and if he will make a statement. [65066]

Mr. Fatchett

We believe a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka can be reached only through a political settlement. During my visit to Colombo in November last year I made clear to the Sri Lankan Government that we remain ready to help in the resolution of the conflict if both sides ask us to play a role.