Allow free movement to the civilians in 48 hours- President urges LTTE
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka has urged the LTTE to let the civilians held as a human shield in Wanni to go for their safety. In statement issued yesterday (Jan 29) he further assures safer way to a security environs.
The statement in full:
My Government, since its election, has always been worried about the welfare of all people of Sri Lanka and their economic and social progress. The welfare of the people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, primarily of those in areas under opponent control by the LTTE, has been of even better concern to my Government. As a result, my Government has always been committed to escort calm in those regions so that all people of Sri Lanka, particularly those in the North and the East will have the chance to exercise their democratic rights and choose their leaders freely through elections to realise their political aspirations within the democratic framework that has flourished in Sri Lanka for long years.
However, all efforts for finding solutions quietly for outstanding issues in the North and the East were repudiated by the LTTE and I was bound to take measures to battle the terrorism unleashed by the LTTE on the people of Sri Lanka. In the efforts to eliminate terrorism and in the humanitarian operations to free civilians from pain and insecurity, the Government and the Security Forces have been aware of the welfare of civilians, their lives and property at all times.
In adding, as a democratically elected Government with a clear consent from the people, we have always been strong-minded to defend the territorial integrity and dominion of Sri Lanka and to find solutions to all problems within a democratic structure while uniting all the people of Sri Lanka.
In this context, the Security Forces have been winning in conducting their mandated operations to achieve these objectives of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka.
The Government is now balanced to take important steps that will enable an surroundings conducive for the reintroduction of democracy that will give the people of the Northern Province an option to exercise their right to elect their leaders by free choice so that solutions can be found for all outstanding issues through cooperation and chat and not through aggression.
As a consequence of the operations by Security Forces, LTTE control over civilians is at the present restricted to a small area in the Northern Province and a large number of civilians are being held there by force by the LTTE, thus endangering blameless inhabitant lives.
Being acutely aware of the welfare of the civilians compulsorily being held in the disagreement zone by the LTTE, we have affirmed a safe zone for civilians, the co-ordinates of which were announced by the Security Forces.
This is to ensure that they stay out of harm's way during travels between Security Forces and carrying weapons LTTE cadres, and to promise the safety and security of civilians.
It is unlucky that the LTTE is exploiting this affirmed safe zone for civilians by placing their serious weaponry within the secure zone and using it as a start pad to physical attack Security Forces and randomly kill civilians."
"I urge the LTTE, within the next 48 hours to allow free movement of civilians to create sure their safety and security. For all those civilians, I promise a safe way to a secure environment.
I also assure all those livelihood in the North and in disagreement areas in particular, that vacating LTTE held areas will make sure the physical, safety and allow peace, freedom and human rights for all citizens of the country."
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