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Australia Calls For Political Deal To End Sri Lanka Bloodshed – Nasdaq

[AFP, Friday, 20 March 2009 08:13 One Comment]

COLOMBO (AFP)–Australia on Friday called on Sri Lanka to present "credible political reforms" to end ethnic bloodshed and expressed grave concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in the island’s north.

Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith also asked Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels to lift all restrictions on civilians living in rebel-held areas amid allegations that the guerrillas are holding them as human shields.

"There can be no justification for preventing free movement of civilians from the conflict zone," he said in a statement sent here. "We encourage the Sri Lankan diaspora to add weight to this call to prevent further loss of life."

 

Australia, which designates the Tamil Tigers a terrorist organization, has a large Sri Lankan community, including ethnic Tamils.

 

"Australia again calls on the Sri Lankan government to put forward credible political reforms to engage Tamils and other minorities without delay," Smith said.

 

"A political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans is essential for the long-term security and prosperity of Sri Lanka."

 

The minister said arrangements must be put in place urgently to allow the safe passage of civilians from the shrinking war zone, where government forces are leading their biggest ever offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

 

"As long as civilians remain in the conflict zone, both sides have an obligation to ensure that hostilities are not conducted in a way which endangers civilian life," he said.

 

The U.N. rights chief said last week that over 2,800 civilians have been killed since late January and both sides of the conflict might be guilty of war crimes.

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One Comment »

  • S.V.Ramanan said:

    Time that International community intervened.Granted and accepted that LTTE has been responsible for terrorism, how long the SriLankan Government is going to take umbrage under this excuse? Till Tamils are wiped out?
    They should know that no rebel group can be completely wiped out in its entirety.If you are going to wait for the last Tiger to be killed or LTTE to lay down arms, you are only seeking excuses to continue genocide.Practical way for the international community is to deploy an international force,make SriLankan Govt. declare Cease Fire, declare LTTE persona non grata and wage war with it under international coalition,move the trapped Tamilians to safety under international supervision,work out devolution of power for Tamils and see it is implemented before international force leaves SriLanka.SriLanka seems to be getting away with genocide,better than Miklosvic, by harping on LTTE.Time to act is now.