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LTTE preventing civilians leaving war zone - Prime Minister tells Thai counterpart

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.


Prime Minister
Wickramanayaka


Thai Prime Minister
Vejjajiva

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 counterpart.

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 investment opportunities.

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 several thousands.

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 officials.

Prime Minister Vejjajiva was assisted by Pisanu Chanvitan, Director- General (South Asia, Middle East and African Affairs) of the Foreign Ministry.

Courtesy - Asian Tribune

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