British, French foreign ministers arrive in Sri Lanka to address humanitarian situation
Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 5:43 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Apr 29, Colombo: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner arrived in Sri Lanka today to address the humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka and push for a ceasefire.
The two visiting foreign ministers are to meet their Sri Lankan counterpart, Rohitha Bogollagama this morning at the Foreign Ministry. They are expected to hold discussions with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa later.
During their visit Kouchner and Milliband are expected to visit the welfare centers in Vavuniya where more than 100,000 civilians who fled the rebel controlled areas are now being sheltered.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was to accompany Kouchner and Milliband but he was denied the entry to the country, Bildt said yesterday.
However, the Sri Lankan government said it did not deny the visa to the Swedish foreign minister but invited him to come on a later date next month adding that 'facilitating visits by three foreign ministers at one given time with such a short notice is rather unmanageable.'
The United Nation top official John Holmes concluded his visit to the island yesterday. Holmes was in Sri Lanka for a three-day visit to assess the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone where at least another 50,000 civilians are trapped due to the fighting.
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said Sri Lanka faces twin humanitarian crises as the LTTE is still holding tens of thousands of people and refusing to let them leave and the welfare camps are swollen with about 200,000 people.