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* Sri Lanka FM calls on international community to work with the government
Thursday, April 23, 2009, 14:35 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister today called on the international community to be realistic in their expectations based on the ground conditions in Sri Lanka and not be influenced by the propaganda and work with the Sri Lankan government to come to the assistance of the thousands of escaped civilians.

"The world at large must play a complementary role to that of our government, considering it is a war on terror which would provide the environment conducive for a lasting political solution to be evolved," Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said today addressing the diplomatic corps based in Colombo at the Foreign Ministry.

While praising the security forces for their efforts to rescue thousands of civilians from the LTTE, the FM dismissed allegations of civilian casualties in the NFZ, being attributed to the security forces.

Bogollagama said the allegations that the government forces are shelling the NFZ are simply incongruous, especially when thousands of civilians fled from the LTTE into the safety of troops.

"Such a scenario would be quite inconceivable if the security forces were in fact firing at them," he said.

The FM briefed the diplomats on the facilities the government has provided at the welfare centers to receive and house the massive number of civilian arriving each day.

While admitting that the situation in the welfare centers is farm from ideal, the FM sought assistance from the international community to rebuild the recently cleared areas before the resettlement can begin.

"In order to expedite the resettlement programme of the IDPs, we urgently require assistance in mine clearance, as well as in the rebuilding of the war shattered infrastructure in the areas of conflict in the North," Bogollagama said.

While welcoming the outcome of the informal briefing by the UN Security Council on Sri Lanka last night, Foreign Minister said the Sri Lankan Government is well engaged with the UN and the ICRC on the humanitarian situation in the North and related matters and therefore does not perceive the necessity for separate international monitors and assistance for the evacuation of the civilians.

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