Published on - 9/24/2003
Award of certificates to the first batch of Army personnel, who accomplished the month-long US sponsored Training Course on Humanitarian De-mining project, took place on Tuesday (23) at a fitting ceremony at Embilipitiya Training school of Army Engineering.
This specific training programme, a direct gesture offered to the Army by US De-Mining experts, (RONCO) consequent to a bilateral agreement signed between Sri Lanka and U.S. in August this year, was followed by 15 Army Officers and 110 Other Ranks, most of who are based in the northeast.
The ongoing project, the first donation made to this effect costs United States approximately U. S. $ 2.2 million and will continue till February 2004.
The objective of this new phase of de-mining assistance is to prepare the Army to clear mined areas of Sri Lanka to international standard.
Mr. Dean Thompson, the US Embassy\'s Economic Officer, in his observations at the graduation ceremony, noted that the Sri Lankan army\'s engineers will \'take on the tough job of reclaiming homes, reclaiming land for farming, restoring fields for children to play in and clearing sites on which hospitals and schools can be built. People are willing to make sacrifices in order to give other Sri Lankans back their lives.\'
Major General K. B Egodawele, General Officer Commanding, 11 Div. Headquarters represented the Army Commander Lt. Gen. L. P Balagalle at the award ceremony. US Embassy officials and Senior Army Officers attended the occasion. A live demonstration depicting unearthing of landmines was also staged by those who completed the training after the ceremony at Embilipitiya was over.