UN, Sri Lankan officials meet
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 September 1999, 16:03 GMT]
United Nations officials in Sri Lanka said in a statement today that they had met senior officials of the Sri Lankan government over the recent deaths of civilians in the island's ethnic conflict. The UN statement follows.
"The United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and the UNHCR Representative recently met with senior representatives of the Sri Lanka Government to discuss recent events resulting in civilian casualties.
"The United Nations officials were informed that it remained the firm policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to make every effort to ensure that military operations do not lead to civilian casualties.
"The government officials confirmed the 24th September statement of the Foreign Minister in New York that the casualties incurred in the Mullaitivu district on 15th September during an air attack were the result of an accident. Government officials also indicated that the government is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
"In response to the government's statement regarding the accidental nature of civilian casualties caused by the air raid the distinction was noted between a tragic but accidental event leading to civilian casualties and a deliberate attack upon civilians who have been identified as specific targets.
" In noting the government's position, the United Nations representatives emphasised that civilian casualties, whether accidental as stated by the government with regard to the Mullaitivu incident or deliberate, as in the case of the 18th September Ampara attack, remain a humanitarian tragedy".