Sri Lanka on verge of defeating terrorism - Hillary Clinton tells
The US Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton
acknowledged that Sri Lanka is now on the verge of defeating terrorism,
and that this presented a great opportunity to restore peace, leading to
reconstruction and rehabilitation in the country.
These observations were made when Mrs. Clinton spoke
to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by telephone this evening. The telephone
discussion which was warm and cordial was originated by the US Secretary
of State, who initially expressed her condolences for those killed in
the terrorist attack at Akuressa earlier this week. She stated that
terrorists should not be permitted to destroy the lives of people in
Speaking on current developments, Mrs. Clinton
appreciated the assurances given by Secretary Defence that civilians
would not be subjected to any attacks by the military, stating the US
looked forward to working with Sri Lanka once the current conflict ends.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Mrs. Clinton for
the condolences expressed for those killed in last Tuesday's terrorist
attack, and informed her of the situation regarding the ongoing
humanitarian operations by the security forces, to defeat terrorism in
the north of Sri Lanka . He said there were about 50,000 to 70,000
people still remaining in a very small area held by the LTTE, where the
LTTE was preventing the people leaving for safety outside.
The Government hoped to clear the LTTE from this
enclave within the next few days, the President told Mrs. Clinton.
He also said the people who had managed to come over
to government held areas were being looked after in welfare villages.
The government was regularly sending food and medicines to all persons
in the affected areas, including those held by the LTTE, with the
assistance of the ICRC and the World Food Program.
In the conversation President Rajapaksa noted that the
LTTE had fired on a ship carrying food for these civilians two days ago,
but the government was continuing to send supplies despite these
obstacles by the LTTE.
President Rajapaksa told the US Secretary of State
that reconstruction and rehabilitation in the north would start as soon
as the fighting ended there. He also told Mrs. Clinton of the political
process that had been initiated through the All Party Representative
Committee seeking consensus on a political solution to the problems of
He also told the US Secretary of State that the
Government was prepared to hold elections to local government bodies in
Jaffna as soon as possible, and that he looked forward to working with
the elected representatives of the people of the north in the near
Mrs. Clinton said she was thankful that the long
conflict in Sri Lanka was coming to an end, and that the United States
looked forward to working with Sri Lanka in the building of peace.