EU MPS condemn LTTE
"The LTTE is" now in a desperate end game"
- Geoffrey van Orden
"We should be resolute in our support for President
- Charles Tannock
"I am in favour of the Tamil’s cause, but reject the
method of the LTTE "
- Jo Leinen
has ignored call to lay down arms"
- Ferraro Waldner
Members of the European Parliament yesterday adopted a
resolution "condemning the LTTE's violence and intimidation which are
preventing civilians from leaving the conflict area", and "callings for
an immediate ceasefire by the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in order to
allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone".
In a debate at the European Parliament held in
Strasbourg on Wednesday night, British Conservative MEP and Chairman of
the 'Friends of Sri Lanka Group' Geoffrey van Orden told Parliament that
"the LTTE is now in a desperate end game and, typically in such
situations, is turning to international apologists to get it off the
Referring suggestions to water down the statement in
favour of the LTTE, Van Orden said:
"We cannot support amendments to the resolution before
us based on unattributable and often nonsensical allegations or
selective quotation from one NGO report. And we have no good reason to
dispute the Government's firm assertion that its troops have not fired
on no-fire zones and nor will they".
He added: "The greatest service all in this House can
do is call on the LTTE to lay down its arms and to release the civil
population from its grip.
Then much-needed humanitarian aid can be delivered,
people can begin to look forward to better lives, and all Sri Lankans
can get back on the path of democratic politics and building a fair and
more prosperous society for all its citizens, free from terrorist
British Conservative MEP and Conservative Foreign
Affairs Spokesman Charles Tannock said "we should be resolute in our
support for President Rajapaksa and his efforts to end an insurgency
that has brought untold human misery to Sri Lanka and severely retarded
economic development on that beautiful island.
However, thousands of innocent civilian IDPs still
remain trapped on a narrow coastal strip. These civilians must be
allowed to leave so that the army can conclude its offensive.
It is reprehensible but entirely to be expected of the
Tigers that they are exploiting these civilians as human shields.
The Tigers have been deaf to appeals from the
international community to surrender or establish a temporary
Nevertheless, allowing the UN and other organizations
to arrange safe passage from the conflict zone for these civilians is
essential to avoid a bloodbath.
Sri Lanka appreciates its own responsibility in this
regard and wants to avoid civilian casualties but understandably the
army's patience is limited and fears that the Tigers will seek to escape
by a sea evacuation mixing in with the civilians.
Therefore we endorse the establishment of a
humanitarian corridor and an immediate and temporary cessation of
hostilities but we also want to see the comprehensive defeat of the LTTE
and a peaceful, just and multi-ethnic Sri Lanka established in its
place, where there is maximum autonomy to the Tamil majority areas and
an equitable sharing of resources and power within a unitary Sri Lankan
German Socialist MEP Jo Leinen said: "I agree that the
solution to Sri Lanka's problems should be a political one and not a
military one. The LTTE must make a step that it is not taking and that
is to lay down its arms and put an end to terrorism. Imagine a member
state of the EU under terrorism for 25 years?. With all the resultant
chaos you can easily imagine that I am in favour of the Tamil's cause,
but reject the method of the LTTE. For weeks now we have been hearing
about hundreds of thousands of people being trapped in a small area of
land. We heard according to eye witnesses that people are being shot if
they leave this zone. We must call upon the LTTE to end these practices.
This can't go on like this. We must call on the government to respect
international law and allow in humanitarian aid. There is a fundamental
demand on both sides to help the victims. We must prepare for the
post-war period. The 13th Amendment to the constitution must be applied
to provide a certain amount of self-governance and the EU can provide
assistance. I am sure that the Commissioner is prepared to do that."
European Commissioner for External Relations Benota
Ferraro-Waldner who made observations during the debate said: "As one of
the Co-chairs of the Tokyo peace process the EU was particularly
pre-occupied with the plight of thousands of internally displaced
persons trapped by fighting in Northern Sri Lanka". She said: "The
Government's recent announcement to open for evacuation roads at the
North and the South of the no fire zone is indeed a positive step. But
we want to know how this work will be practiced. We have called on the
LTTE and the Sri Lankan authorities to protect the civilian population
as required under the International Humanitarian Law, to allow the safe
and voluntary movement of people away from the conflict zone". The
Commissioner added that "the Commission is convinced that the outcome of
this crisis will have lasting consequences to peace reconciliation and
the unity of Sri Lanka and in this context supports calls by Sir John
Holmes to the Government of Sri Lanka to interrupt the hostilities to
allow time for the civilian population to get out safely and to the LTTE
to let the civilians go and agree to a peaceful end to a fighting. Also
the co-chairs have appealed to the LTTE to lay down their arms, but
unfortunately I have to say that this call has been rejected, even
Courtesy: Daily News
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