Saturday, April 25, 2009

Give Amnesty to Tigers -- Tokyo Chairs

Sri Lanka Express

Washington, DC (April 25, 2009) - Representatives of the Tokyo Co-Chairs (U.S., European Union, Norway and Japan) have called on the Sri Lankan to offer amnesty to the Tamil Tigers and to pave the way for a political dialogue with the militant group. They also called on the two sides to ‘end hostilities’ and to devise a ‘clear resettlement plan.’

The co-chairs, meeting on April 22 to discuss the humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka, said they welcomed the escape of civilians from the conflict zone but said they remained ‘deeply concerned’ about the large number of civilians still being held by the Tigers and condemned the outfit for preventing people from leaving.

Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher participated for the United States.

Additionally, they discussed the need for the Tigers to free all civilians and for the Sri Lankan military to guarantee the civilians’ safe passage, Robert Wood, Acting Department Spokesman said in a press release.

“We fully support the UN Secretary-General’s call for UN staff to be allowed into the conflict zone to facilitate relief operations and the evacuation of civilians. We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to allow UN and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all sites where newly arrived displaced persons are being registered and provided shelter,” they said.

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