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Last updated: 17 March, 2005 - Published 19:06 GMT
 
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Useless teddy bear - Kadirgamar
 
Lot of the aid which had been coming in latterly is not very useful said Laxman Kadirgamar, in an interview with the BBC. He said, although they were given with good will, they are useless.

The minister is in London meeting British government officials and aid organisations.

The minister did not see the point of sending toys for children in tsunami affected areas, “A lot of aid which has been coming in latterly is I’m afraid – I’m sorry to say – not very useful. For instance there was a container full of teddy bears. They’re obviously given with good will, nobody says no to that.”

The Foreign Minister say, the relief aid coming in the future will be taxed. “Now the government had worked out a scheme that until the 26th April everything that has come, everything that will be on the seas will be admitted tax free. After that, no!”

The Minister said even some of the food aid is not needed any more. “For instance we do not need rice, we are expecting a bumper harvest, anyone who sends rice is wasting their time and money.”

The minister also pointed out, the aid pledged by Western nation had not come through. “Not a penny had come through yet. We are doing the relief work with our government money. Sri Lanka is still waiting for the money pledged by the donors. Money pledged by the people has been pledged to the NGOs.”

The main coalition partner of the government, the JVP is not against negotiations with the Tamil Tigers says Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Laxman Kadirgamar. In another interview with the BBC World Service TV, Asia Today programme, the minister said there are only some concerns about the technicalities of the final agreement.

He also said the priority of the government at the moment is not the peace process. “There had been no negotiations for a long time. It can wait. Our priority is to bring relief to the people who were affected by the tsunami.”

 
 
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