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Bildt to Sri Lanka for ceasefire talks

AFP/The Local · 27 Apr 2009, 07:15

Published: 27 Apr 2009 07:15 GMT+02:00

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“International human rights must be respected,” Bildt wrote on his blog in reference to the situation in Sri Lanka.

“The intention is to – as a way to support the UN’s efforts – increase the pressure for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to allow civilians to leave the conflict area unharmed.”

In the UK, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown telephoned Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier Sunday to express his concern "about the plight of civilians in the conflict zone," his office said in a statement.

"He repeated his call for a ceasefire, and pledged a further £2.5 million ($ 3.6 million) for humanitarian aid for displaced persons," it said.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner will travel to Sri Lanka on Tuesday following a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxemburg at which the unfolding humanitarian crisis will be discussed.

Sri Lanka says it is on the verge of defeating Tamil rebels who are fighting to create an independent homeland in the north of the island nation, and who stand accused of holding thousands of civilians hostage.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said its ceasefire was "in the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis" and in response to international appeals.

The British government said last week that junior international development minister Mike Foster will be visiting Sri Lanka on Monday to take stock of the humanitarian aspect of the conflict.

In its statement Sunday, Brown's office said he welcomed the ongoing visit to Sri Lanka by John Holmes, the United Nations under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

Story continues below…

In a statement Sunday, Holmes also appealed to Sri Lanka to halt its military offensive against the Tamil Tigers in order to allow aid workers to help civilians trapped in the war zone.

The last minute Sri Lanka trip means the Bildt won’t be will miss a previously scheduled planned meeting of the Arctic Council he was scheduled to attend in Tromsö, Norway.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:26 April 27, 2009 by tartar
I personally think that the International Community should stop forcing their opinion on Sri Lanka. After 30 yrs of battle we are finally getting somewhere. It does not make sense to stop the war now.

They stop now, there will not be an end............
09:35 April 27, 2009 by fxrider
Conflict in Sri lanka is due to decades of suppression and discrimination. It is unfortunate that there has been so much killing on both sides and its a pity that the they still doesn't understand the very reason for the uprising. History tells that nobody likes to be oppressed and only equal rights can bring peace. I am not a SLn but my sympathies to everyone who is suffering for bringing peace back to that beautiful island nation.
20:42 April 27, 2009 by Ranjit T Edward
The cause of the problem is not the Tamil people. It has always been the nationalist majority, descrimination against the tamils and without a doubt the unique 'sri lankan politics'. The fundemental issue has not been addressed. Wiping the LTTE off is something that will surely bring about peace to the island. But not for long. There is so much government terrorism that also needs to be stopped.

What the IC is doing is in the interest of the tamils who are trapped. Everyone, knows for a fact that the army has also caused untold damages to these people. With out a doubt, the LTTE has done so too. But, one must keep in mind that they are not part of a democratically elected system. They are terrorist, and it is in their character to be that. And it is the responsibility of the government to make sure every citizen is equally protect, which has not been done. Making it a 'failed state'.
10:00 April 28, 2009 by tartar
The government is trying their best to do what is best for the Tamil Civilians, the false propaganda but the brainwashed Tamils in Europe is making it impossible for the Government to get the right support.

I think it is outragous to see all the so called peace demonstration taking place in EU where the people are holding posters and flags of Prabhakaran who is the leader of a banned terrorist organization. They are shamelessly calling him their representative and claiming that the flag that represents LTTE outfit as the Tamil's national flag.

I think instead of the IC to pressurize SL government to call Prabakaran for peace talks they should support them to help the displaced civilians. They are in better hand with the Government that the LTTE.
14:35 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
I think that the SLn government has done too little too late. I was curious to know why the LTTE came into existence in the first place. Most of the rebel groups form either due to illiteracy and poverty and/or due to discrimination. According to wikipedia Sri Lankan civil war started soon after the British left SL and thereafter blown out of proportion due to the Bandaranaike's declaration of the "Sinhala Only Act" language policy. I am a bit shocked to know such an act even existed. I wonder if Sinhalese civilians supported Tamils at that time to ban such an act. If not I wonder how would a Sinhalese feel if he/she were forced to speak only Swedish in Sweden and follow only Swedish tradition and culture...... and if that feels bad it would feel even worst to be forced to follow some other tradition in your own country. Anyways as the trust in the SLn government went down a rebellion group LTTE was formed.
14:35 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
Unfortunately LTTE took the wrong foot forward and used force just the way the government did and what's pity is that both of them had a fine and successful example of Gandhi to learn from but they did not. BBC claims so far 70,000 have died in this war. It's anybody's guess how many of these 70,000 are Tamils, Sinhalese, military and LTTE.

I wonder if the government likes to protect the innocent Tamil civilians then would they do air attacks on the trapped civilians? I wonder in how many countries were the civilians killed by there own government? And above all if the government is completely impartial towards its civilians (which I hope it is) then why wouldn't they allow foreign journalist's to cover the conflict independently?
14:35 April 28, 2009 by fxrider
Moreover why aren't the foreign media even allowed to enter the country. Today they even stopped Bildt to enter SL I wonder why? In the past 2 decades almost all conflicts were covered live by the media be it the gulf war, the kargil war in India, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq so why not cover the SL "internal" civil war.

Now that SL has not accepted any political and media intervention in there internal conflict I wonder if they will accept humanitarian aids from foreign countries or are they able enough to provide it from there own pockets?

A military "solution" is never a solution. The solution has to come through dialogues, understanding and trust in each other. And yes most important of all giving equal rights to Tamils and other minorities.
23:35 April 28, 2009 by tartar
Foreign media are never allowed into any country when a war takes place.....

Israel's attack on Gaza, USA's initial attack on Iraq, Nigeria's ethnic war, Sudan's ethic war..... the list goes on...

Regardless of whether the war is for a right cause or wrong cause, a media should not be allowed, because not many medias are netural these days....

Unfortunately some media causes unnecessary trouble and tensions....

And also for security reasons of the media persons... because it has become a trend to take foreigners are hostage in war bound countries....
01:08 April 29, 2009 by Kicha
"The genocidal intent of the Sri Lanka government is proved by-

please read the online book http://www.pagegangster.com/p/2Lweq/

I feel realy sick when people talk about issue that they never experiaced. i have experianced lot and i'm not against sinhala people but i am against the people who kills innocent people.
09:42 April 29, 2009 by tartar
As graphic as the book is... dare not forget the brutallity done by LTTE as well... not just what they did inside SL,,,, they went across the sea and bombed to dead a Prime Minister-.... Rajiv Ghandi... for what purpose??? and now they are shamelessly asking the Indian Government led by his widow to help Prabhakaran???

I am a Tamil, my family ran from war... but I still find what the Government is doing to be justified.... I am counting the days for the LTTE regime to melt.....

I sympathise for the Tamils they have suffered a lot.... but this is not the Government that did this to them... LTTE chased away 100000 Muslim Tamils from their native places and preoccupied their lands... they recruit child soldiers... and all the bombing they did in Colombo... did not just kill Singhalese but also killed a lot of Tamils....
09:42 April 29, 2009 by tartar
My uncle was slaugther to death by an LTTE cadre bcas of personal fuedes..... so pls... be neutral when you talk abt a very delicate situation...

The government still provides food and essentials to this LTTE controlled area... without these those ppl in the area will really be suffering...

And instead of creating a racial dispute... unit with the Sri Lankans... and help the people.. not just the Tamils... we are just an ethinicity but we are all Sri Lankans....

Remember that... we are a little island and we need to be together to fight this nightmare... stop trying to divide an already small island...
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