SRI LANKAN AMBASSADOR URGES INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY TO PRESSURE LTTE TO RELEASE REMAINING INNOCENT CIVILIANS
Government Declares No Fire Zone to Protect
and Rescue Civilians in Conflict Zone
In response to the ongoing detainment and intimidation
by the LTTE terrorist organization of innocent civilians in the
northern conflict zone, the Ambassador for Sri Lanka to the United
States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, has issued the following statement:
We are alarmed by the LTTE terrorists desperate
tactics to disrupt the safe passage of innocent civilians fleeing
from the conflict zone. In particular, the orchestrated suicide
bomb attack earlier this week by the LTTE terrorists within a
government center where innocent civilians had come to receive
humanitarian assistance and medical treatment was a reckless attempt
to intimidate other civilians from seeking safety and security.
The terrorist attack resulted in 30 deaths and more than 60 injured
and was condemned universally by the international community.
Other disturbing incidents by the LTTE terrorists
include the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by using
them as human shields and even shooting those who are brave enough
to flee the conflict zone.
As the LTTE terrorists continue to put innocent
civilians who seek safety from the conflict zone in harms way,
we urge the international community and especially the United
States to put pressure on the leadership of the LTTE to immediately
release the remaining civilians held captive in the conflict zone.
Meanwhile, the Government of Sri Lanka has put
together a comprehensive plan to provide much needed humanitarian
assistance to those who are able to seek safe passage from the
conflict zone. It is our utmost priority to ensure the safety
and security of the civilians and to look after their welfare.
In addition, the Government has recently declared
a new safety zone to protect fleeing innocent civilians and to
help facilitate the flow of
humanitarian aid and medical supplies. We are also providing access
within the conflict zone to the International Committee of the
Red Cross, United Nations and World Food Programme to help us
in rescuing innocent citizens and providing vital services to
those in our safekeeping.
We are extremely grateful for the ongoing efforts
of all the NGOs including the ICRC, UN, UNICEF, WFP, Caritas,
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society
and others who are supporting our humanitarian efforts and making
a challenging situation more bearable for all our citizens.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
16 February 2009