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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 January, 2005, 16:07 GMT
UN aid chief visits Tamil Tigers
WFP head James Morris flies to the tsunami-ravaged, southern Sri Lankan town of Galle
James Morris has been touring tsunami-hit areas
The head of a UN aid agency has completed a visit to rebel-held territory in Sri Lanka despite initial objections by the government.

The head of the World Food Programme, James Morris, wanted to assess the aid effort for victims of Asia's tsunami.

The Colombo government originally deemed the trip to the northern town of Kilinochchi "difficult".

The government denies claims by the Tamil Tiger rebels that aid flows to their areas have been restricted.

"We are not involved in politics. We are involved in seeing that people are fed," said Mr Morris, who met SP Thamilselvan, the political chief of the Tigers.

"I would have been extraordinarily unhappy had I not been allowed to go," he said.

Last week UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was prevented from visiting the area.

Mr Morris has been touring countries ravaged by the tsunami on 26 December. On Saturday he visited the battered southern Sri Lankan town of Galle.

Reaching the hungry

The WFP says it is trying to feed some two million survivors across the region, including up to 750,000 people in Sri Lanka, where nearly 31,000 people died.

Mr Morris said the WFP is providing food to 90,000 people in the rebel-controlled north, and the number is growing.

Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin also visited Sri Lanka on Sunday to assess the aid effort and to meet Canadian relief teams working in the country.

Peace talks between the rebels and government to bring an end to the country's 33-year civil war broke down in 2003.

But despite the tensions over aid provision, there appeared to be fresh hope for the Norway-brokered talks process on Saturday with the Tamil announcement that Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen and top peace envoy Erik Solheim are set to visit the island next week.


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