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A Newspaper Published by World Institute for Asian Studies. Powered by WIAS, Vol. 8 No. 332

Dr. Palitha Kohona denounced allegations that Sri Lankan security forces are shelling civilians

Washington DC, 12 April, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lankan Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona with  Richard Boucher,  US  Foreign Secretary told the Assistant Secretary of StateSri Lankan Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona with Richard Boucher, US Foreign Secretary told the Assistant Secretary of StateForeign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona vehemently denounced allegations that the Sri Lankan security forces are shelling civilians within the government-declared no-fire zone. He said there is no substantiated evidence to support this claim. "Furthermore," he added, "there is no advantage at all to the security forces in shelling civilians."

The Foreign Secretary also noted that it was the government -- not the LTTE -- that had declared the no-fire zone to protect the civilians the LTTE had "herded" into this small area.

“The government believes that 30,000 to 60,000 civilians are held forcibly by the LTTE as a human shield in a small area north of Mullaittivu," Dr. Palitha Kohona said .

Dr. Kohona, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, met with top U.S. State Department officials on Friday 10 April 2009. The end of the 25-year-long conflict with the LTTE was at the core of the discussions.

With about 500 LTTE combatants cornered by government security forces in northeastern Sri Lanka, the Foreign Secretary told the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher, that Sri Lankan forces are, consistent with government policy, exercising extreme caution to safeguard civilians held hostage in the no-fire zone by the LTTE.

During the cordial meeting, Assistant Secretary of State, Boucher reiterated the call by the Tokyo Co-Chairs -- which comprises the U.S., Japan, the European Union and Norway - for the LTTE to "allow civilians to move freely out of harm’s way."

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of state also raised the possibility of having an individual meet with LTTE leaders to discuss a surrender under which the LTTE would lay down their weapons.

In talks with the Assistant Secretary of state, the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary vehemently denounced allegations that the Sri Lankan security forces are shelling civilians within the government-declared no-fire zone. He said there is no substantiated evidence to support this claim. Furthermore, there is no advantage at all to the security forces in shelling civilians.

On the subject of an IMF loan facility sought by Sri Lanka, the Foreign Secretary noted that Sri Lanka is asking for a standby facility against the backdrop of the global financial crisis.

The Foreign Secretary, accompanied to the State Department meeting by Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the U.S. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, pointed out that the government has continued to deliver food and medicine to the no-fire zone, and to aid the evacuation of civilians. These supplies, he said, are also being used by the LTTE.

So far, about 65,000 civilians have fled the LTTE areas. More than 3,200 sick or injured civilians and another 4,000 healthy bystanders have been evacuated by ship by the ICRC. Those civilians were moved through government transit centers to welfare villages.

The Foreign Secretary told the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State that there is no need for more personnel from the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sri Lanka. There are currently 646 ICRC staff members in Sri Lanka, according to the ICRC itself.

The Foreign Secretary said the ICRC is no longer required in areas once held by the LTTE, but now under government control. He also suggested that the ICRC redeploy staff recently employed in this area and hire more Sri Lankans, especially medical personnel.
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State raised the possibility of using representatives from the United Nations and the ICRC to process the internally displaced persons now residing in 13 government’s IDP centers.

The Foreign Secretary said the centers, while temporary, offer residents meals, healthcare and safe shelter. The centers now include vocational training, telephone facilities and a program to re-unite family members who have been separated while fleeing from LTTE-controlled areas. He noted that the positive assessment of the centers by Walter Kaelin, UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.

He said that the government’s goal is to return the displaced to their homes quickly.

"Our objective is to get the people back to their homes as soon as possible," the Foreign Secretary said during the State Department meeting, following the experience in the Eastern Province.

A political process is currently underway. For instance, post-conflict development, including democratic elections that were held in the Eastern Province recently, could be considered as part of this process for addressing minority concerns.

- Asian Tribune -


Sarath Dr. Palitha Kohana's

Sarath

Dr. Palitha Kohana's dedication towards making government officilas in USA is praiseworthy and it seems that he is doing his duty and responsibility in clarifying the existing real situation in Sri Lanka and what the government is genuinely doing in order to save Tamil civilians from the LTTE grip to all those who have been misled with distorted facts and infroamtion about Tamil civilians in war torn area. Continue your duty as a real Sri Lankan who will not be indebted to the land once you do your service as Shakespeare said " Service is the rent we pay for the room of the earth".


US to Meet LTTE? The media

US to Meet LTTE? The media note issued by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington which is carried by Asian Tribune has the following paragraph: "The U.S. Assistant Secretary of state also raised the possibility of having an individual meet with LTTE leaders to discuss a surrender under which the LTTE would lay down their weapons."

Undere the US Federal Law no US citizen can meet any member or activist or a 'leader' of an organization declared by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). That is why US refused to channel its aid for Tsunami throught the P-TOM becase the LTTE had representation in the P-TOM (Post Tsunami Operation Mission/Sri Lanka).

Now who is going to meet the LTTE leaders to urge them to lay down arms? US officials? No way under the US Federal laws. Mr. Boucher needs to clarify this OR Sri Lanka Embassy which issued the media note should clarify.

This is a serious matter.


Dear Dr Kohona, Please

Dear Dr Kohona, Please remember the good old saying "Dogs who Bark, can not Bite" (Burana Balloe Hapa Nokai). You, President Mahinda & Gotabaya with our Armed Forces are doing fine, according to what I see on the internet, ie. defence.lk, ITN.LK, asiatribune.com etc. Just ignore these idiots, who bark & get on with more important issues, as you have been always doing lately.

All I can say, wish and pray for is Please Go Forwards, "Iddiriyatama Yauww Hellayini, Iddiriyatama Yauww", without looking back.

To quote Mohideen Baig "Manu Satha Lorkay Ippadie, May Kala Thama Weradie.................." Why waste your valuble time on other idiots' mistakes. Meeta Dr Gamini Karu from UK