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* LTTE committed egregious acts and the government fails to protect civilians, Senator Kerry says
Monday, March 23, 2009, 18:05 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 23, Colombo: While claiming that the LTTE had committed 'egregious acts' a top US Senator, Democrat John Kerry, today told Sri Lanka that the latter failed to protect civilians in government safe zones in the war zone.

In a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday Mr. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that "while the Tamil Tigers have committed egregious acts, I am also alarmed by reports about actions taken by the government of Sri Lanka."

Kerry said he had grave concern about reports that government forces had shelled civilians and hospitals in government-designated safe zones amid a fierce push to crush the rebel force, that humanitarian aid was not reaching civilians, and that the government had cracked down on journalists.

"This situation jeopardizes the international standing of Sri Lanka and its relations with friendly countries," the letter said.

"Let me once again emphasize the urgent need for the Sri Lankan government to take all necessary steps to protect civilians, allow humanitarian access to the displaced, and credibly investigate human rights violations by all members of government security forces," Kerry wrote.

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