UN concerned about civilians held by LTTE– Holmes

The United Nations was very concerned about those trapped in pockets under the control of the LTTE in Mulaitivu and hoped that the organisation would allow them safe passage to the government controlled areas,

US under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes said yesterday.

Our concern is to work with all concerned and the UN is working with the relevant government agencies and the ICRC," he told the media at the Foreign Ministry.

"We have had very cordial and constructive discussions with the government in this regard and we believe that the LTTE will allow those trapped in the war torn areas to be moved to safety.

"The emphasis is on humanitarian needs and we need to see that they get food, clean water, medicine and shelter," he said.

Holmes said he appreciated efforts by the Sri Lanka government to provide adequate food supplies to the IDPs and said sending a ship containing
40 tonnes of food demonstrated the government’s concern for the displaced.

Those who have been displaced will have to be returned to their homes once the military operation is over and this has to be done as soon as possible, he said.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that the government’s objective was to eliminate terrorism while maintaining a zero casualty level while addressing the humanitarian needs of the displaced people.

The Minister said there are about 70,000 trapped in the East coast near Mullaitivu the government and the security forces with the help of ICRC was doing everything possible to transfer them to the safety of the government controlled areas.


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