Amunugama takes northern rehabilitation
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 March 2000, 14:23 GMT]
Mr.Sarath Amunugama, the member of Parliament who crossed over from the United National Party last year with four of his powerful colleagues in the opposition to the People's Alliance (PA) late last year was appointed Minister for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for the North by the Sri Lankan President today.
Mr.Nanda Mathew MP who crossed over with him has been made the Minister for Shipping and Shipping Development. The appointment of the rebel UNP leaders to the cabinet is seen as a significant move by the PA aimed at wooing other disgruntled members of the UNP. The ministries granted to the two rebel UNPers today are important cabinet positions.
The shipping ministry was under the Sri Lankan President. Mr.M.H.M Ashraff was made the Minister for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction when the PA formed the government. Later his ministry was downsized to rehabilitation and reconstruction in the eastern province only.
Analysts said that Mr.Amunugama appointment is important given the fact that an overwhelming portion of international aid for the war torn Tamil regions is going to Jaffna and that rehabilitation and reconstruction in the peninsula is politically and strategically top priority for the government and many western donor nations.
Mr.Sarath Amunugama held a press conference in Colombo today following his appointment.