South Africa calls for permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 30 January 2009, 12:56 GMT]
Expressing deep concern for the safety and well-being of the 250, 000 civilians, including humanitarian aid workers, reportedly caught up in the conflict in the North-East region of Sri-Lanka, South African government Friday called for a permanent ceasefire. South Africa also urged the parties to the conflict, as a priority, respect existing safe zones and protect civilians, and to allow the delivery of relief supplies, including medicine, food, water and temporary shelters.

Full text of the statement follows:

SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT EXPRESSES CONCERN REGARDING THE SITUATION IN SRI LANKA

Pretoria – The South African Government has today, Friday, 30 January 2009, expressed deep concern for the safety and well-being of the 250, 000 civilians, including humanitarian aid workers, reportedly caught up in the conflict between the military forces of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the North-East region of Sri-Lanka.

This humanitarian crisis is of great concern to South Africa, who joins the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other esteemed leaders of the international community in urging both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to, as a priority, respect existing safe zones and protect civilians, and further, to allow the delivery of relief supplies, including medicine, food, water and temporary shelters.

South Africa is saddened by the loss of life and expresses its condolences to all those in mourning. Furthermore, South Africa will continue to support any efforts aimed at bringing about peace and reconciliation. We believe that a lasting and sustainable political solution will be best achieved through broad consultation and peaceful dialogue amongst all the people of Sri Lanka. We therefore urge both parties to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. The announced ceasefire should be permanent and thus create conditions for parties to consult their respective constituencies freely and regularly.


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