Access route for civilians agreed
[TamilNet, Monday, 06 December 1999, 18:27 GMT]
An agreement to open an access route into the Vanni has been reached between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers (LTTE) through the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), aid workers said today. It is expected the food supply to the Vanni will resume very soon, they added.
According to the understanding between both parties, a civilian safety zone will be set up between Pramanalankulam (the SLA side) and Periya Pandivirichchaan (the LTTE side), said sources.
Unlike the earlier crossing point at Mankulam, the safety zone will be 5 km wide this time, sources added.
"ICRC in its role as a neutral intermediary has been asked by both sides to ensure the 'supervision' of the reopening of the crossing point" said Harsha Gunawardene the spokesman for the ICRC, when contacted for confirmation of the opening of the proposed land route to the Vanni.
Last week a convoy of 7 trucks loaded with food and other essential items were sent to the Madhu area, where officials say 15,000 internally displaced civilians have sought refuge.
On Saturday, the ICRC escorted a lorry loaded with Question Papers to the areas held by the LTTE in the Vanni, for the island wide GCE Oridnary Level Examination which commenced today.
Sources said that these two convoys travelled with the understanding of the SLA and the LTTE.