LTTE preventing civilians leaving war zone - Prime Minister tells Thai
Despite the Government’s best efforts to encourage the civilians in
the north out of the battle zone, the LTTE is continuing to use them as
a human shield risking the lives of the Tamil people, Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Thai Prime Minister
Wickramanayaka was briefing Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit
Vejjajiva who inquired about the current situation in Sri Lanka during a
courtesy call paid by him.
Prime Minister Wickramanayaka was on a five-day private visit to
Thailand to attend the Magha Pucha Day, an important day in the Buddhist
calendar in Thailand at the Wat Phara Dhammakaya Temple at Pathuvithani.
Wickramanayaka said during the last 30 years, successive Governments
have negotiated with the LTTE to reach a durable solution. These
negotiations were of no avail as the LTTE deliberately stymied every
attempt at settlement.
Even the present Government entered into negotiations but once more
the Tigers undermined the attempts at a political settlement, he said.
“It was only when this attempt at negotiating a solution was
undermined that the Government decided on a course to eradicate
terrorism,” the Prime Minister said.
“Today the terrorists are confined to a narrow area that is
continuously shrinking. The civilians in the area who wish to get away
from the LTTE are forcibly prevented from doing so.
Despite the LTTE’s deliberate policy of exposing the Tamil civilians
to the dangers of war, people are anxious to get out into the
Government-controlled areas. One day, last week some 5,000 civilians
crossed over to the Government side,” Wickramanayaka told his Thai
He said even during the years of the war, the Government continued to
provide food, medical and other supplies to the civilian population in
the LTTE controlled areas. However, much of these supplies did not reach
the civilian population as intended as they were seized by the LTTE and
used for their own needs.
Prime Minister Wickramanayaka said the Government intends to
establish a Provincial Council in the North as it did in the other
liberated areas in the country’s East where the people were allowed to
elect their own representatives using their franchise.
He said the people of the North would have this opportunity and so
they too will be able to enjoy the same facilities as available in the
South of the country.
He said the doors would be open for development and there would be
Earlier, Prime Minister Wickramanayaka recalled the strong religious
ties between Sri Lanka and Thailand that have existed for centuries. He
congratulated the Thai people for their excellent organizational skills
as exemplified by the religious ceremonies at the Temple and attended by
Thai Prime Minister Vejjajiva recalled that every year a member of
the Thai Royal family visits Sri Lanka to attend the annual Katina
pinkama at the Dipaduttamaramaya in Colombo.
Wickramanayaka drew attention to the proposed construction of a
Buddhist Zone in Sri Lanka where all the Buddhist countries will be
invited to set up their own shrines according to their architectural
styles and requirements.
Prime Minister Wickramanayaka was accompanied on his call to his Thai
counterpart by Mahinda Bandusena, Secretary to the Prime Minister; G.
Wijayasiri, Foreign Affairs Consultant to the Prime Minister; Jayaratna
Banda Disanayake, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Thailand and embassy
Prime Minister Vejjajiva was assisted by Pisanu Chanvitan, Director-
General (South Asia, Middle East and African Affairs) of the Foreign
Courtesy - Asian Tribune