|Wednesday, 9 June 2004|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
Top level US delegation in what is described as a visit of goodwill and appreciation, is to arrive in Sri Lanka to attend the graduation ceremony of the US sponsored first Mine Delegation Dogs (MDD) and Mine Detection Dog handlers course, conducted for Officers and Other Ranks of the Sri Lanka Army at the Sri Lanka School of Military Engineering (SLSME) in Thunkama Embilipitiya on 10th June 2004, the Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence states.
This MDD training, a continuation of US Humanitarian De-mining assistance to Sri Lanka is a direct result of a US agreement signed with the Government of Sri Lanka to provide US assistance in the field of humanitarian de-mining training to the Army at a cost of about US$ 2.2 million, following an initiative taken by the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, Lt. Gen. L.P. Balagalle.
The large scale US training, begun at SLSME continues throughout the year 2004 under the said agreement according to the news release. This was the first time an MDD Course was conducted in the Army.
One Officer and ten Other Ranks who attended this three-month long training course are to be graduated on 10th June 2004 during a ceremony, scheduled to be graced by the officials from the US Department of State. US Embassy in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Embassy in US, RONCO Consulting Corporation, the US Marshall Legacy Institute. US-Sri Lankan Association of Washington DC, UNDP (Mine Action), National Steering Committee for Mine Action and Ministry of Defence and the aforesaid donors.
Those MDD along with their handlers will be deployed in the North in humanitarian de-mining operations, now being conducted by the Army. They will expedite national de-mining efforts, aimed at the Government's programme for resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).
The visiting US delegation during their stay in Sri Lanka will visit Military Mine Action Office in Jaffna, Security Forces commander, Jaffna, the military de-mining sites at Puttur, Achchuveli, Ariaylai, Thanankilappu and Meesalai, attend the ceremonial opening of kennels for MDD in Jaffna and the newly constructed Military Mine Action Office in Vavuniya.
They will also meet the officials of District Steering Committee for Mine Action and a few NGO representatives before leaving Jaffna to visit several places of religious and cultural interest including Anuradhapura and Kandy. In Colombo, they will call on the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and meet officials of the National Steering Committee for Mine Action and UNDP (Mine Action).
Produced by Lake House