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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 884

LTTE should surrender to a third party: US

By Wajid Ali Syed – Washington Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, 25 April, (Asiantribune.com): The State Department's acting spokesperson Robert Wood has called on LTTE rebels to lay down arms and surrender to a third party. In his daily briefing on Friday, he said, "We remain extremely concerned for the safety of the remaining civilians in the no-fire zone," and called on the Sri Lanka government and Tamil Tigers to end hostilities.

He also asked the Sri Lanka government to allow a UN humanitarian team into the no-fire zone, saying that US understand that two Indian government emissaries arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday to convey their government's concerns. We support Indian efforts to stop the fighting, he added.

Robert Wood said that the co-cahir countries in the G-8 are working together closely to find a way to end the fighting. "The Tamil Tigers must stop holding civilians and putting them in harm’s way," the spokesperson said.

The international community needs to supply assistance to a large number of displaced persons and they should be prepared to play a role to end the fighting, he suggested.

He said, the United States supports the UN Secretary-General's decision to send a UN humanitarian team to the no-fire zone, as the Secretary-General's envoy and the Sri Lanka president agreed to last week.

Given below the transcript of the Press briefing dealing with Sri Lanka:

Question: And I had a question on Sri Lanka if you would.

Mr. Wood: Yeah. Let me give you the latest details that I have on Sri Lanka.

You know, again, we remain extremely concerned for the safety of the remaining civilians in the no-fire zone. Although tens of thousands of people have fled the area, numerous people have been killed, and tens of thousands of additional civilians remain in the conflict area. We call on the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to end hostilities. We understand that two Indian Government special emissaries arrived in Sri Lanka today. They are there to convey their government’s concerns about the conflict to the Government of Sri Lanka. We support Indian efforts to stop the fighting.

The co-chair countries in the G-8 are working together closely to find a way to end the fighting. The Tamil Tigers must stop holding civilians and stop putting them in harm’s way. We call on the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and surrender to a third party. The international community needs to provide assistance to a large number of displaced persons. The international community should be prepared to play a role to end the fighting.

I just want to add a couple of points. We fully support the UN Secretary General’s decision to send a UN humanitarian team to the no-fire zone, as the Secretary General’s envoy Vijay Nambiar and President Rajapaksa discussed and agreed to last week.

We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to allow the team into the no-fire zone as soon as possible. We also urge the Government of Sri Lanka to allow critical supplies to pass more rapidly through military checkpoints, share its registration information of internally displaced persons with the UN, identify additional shelter sites, and authorize continued medical evacuations from the no-fire zone.

Assistant Secretary Boucher and Ambassador Blake participated in a conference with the Tokyo co-chair yesterday. And the co-chairs are the U.S., EU, Japan, and Norway.

So that’s the latest readout I have.

Question: And is the State Department in touch with officials with the Sri Lankan Government?

Mr. Wood: Yes, we are routinely in discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Question: And the Indian Government, too? And with the Indian Government, too?

Mr. Wood: Well, the – I’d have to refer you to the Indian Government for their specific conversation. I gave you just –

Question: No, you are in touch with the Government of India?

Wood: Yes, yes.

Question: And are you sending any team, any officials to Colombo as –

Mr. Wood: At this point, no.

- Asian Tribune -

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