Hillary Clinton tells President Rajapaksa:
Sri Lanka on verge of defeating terrorism
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Sri Lanka
is now on the verge of defeating terrorism, and that this presented a
great opportunity to restore peace, leading to reconstruction and
rehabilitation in the country.
These observations were made when Clinton spoke to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa by telephone yesterday evening.
The telephone discussion which was warm and cordial was originated by
the US Secretary of State, who initially expressed her condolences for
those killed in the terrorist attack at Akuressa earlier this week.
She stated that terrorists should not be permitted to destroy the
lives of people in such manner.
Speaking on current developments, Clinton appreciated the assurances
given by the “Defence Secretary that civilians would not be subjected to
any attacks by the military, stating the US looked forward to working
with Sri Lanka once the current conflict ends.”
President Rajapaksa thanked Clinton for the condolences expressed for
those killed in last Tuesday’s terrorist attack, and informed her of the
situation regarding the ongoing humanitarian operations by the security
forces, to defeat terrorism in the north.
He said there were about 50,000 to 70,000 people still remaining in a
very small area held by the LTTE, where the LTTE was preventing the
people leaving for safety outside.
The Government hoped to clear the LTTE from this enclave within the
next few days, the President told Clinton.
He also said the people who had managed to come over to government
held areas were being looked after in welfare villages. The government
was regularly sending food and medicines to all persons in the affected
areas, including those held by the LTTE, with the assistance of the ICRC
and the World Food Program.
In the conversation President Rajapaksa noted that the LTTE had fired
on a ship carrying food for these civilians two days ago, but the
government was continuing to send supplies despite these obstacles by
President Rajapaksa told the US Secretary of State that
reconstruction and rehabilitation in the north would start as soon as
the fighting ended there. He also told Clinton of the political process
that had been initiated through the All Party Representative Committee
seeking consensus on a political solution to the problems of the
He also told the US Secretary of State that the Government was
prepared to hold elections to local government bodies in Jaffna as soon
as possible, and that he looked forward to working with the elected
representatives of the people of the north in the near future.
Clinton said she was thankful that the long conflict in Sri Lanka was
coming to an end, and that the United States looked forward to working
with Sri Lanka in the building of peace.