EU Parliament calls for political solution in Sri Lanka

February 6th, 2009 - 2:02 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Feb 6 (IANS) The capture of Tamil Tiger strongholds by the Sri Lankan army “may constitute a turning point in the crisis” and could pave the way for peace and stability on the island nation, the EU Parliament said Thursday.The EP, however, said in a statement that a political solution needs to be found and the humanitarian crisis addressed in order for there to be lasting peace, EuAsiaNews reported. The EP held a debate on human rights in Sri Lanka Thursday evening in the French city of Strasbourg.

The EP also endorsed the statement by the Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, the US and the EU), which calls on the LTTE to discuss with the Sri Lanka government the “modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms, renunciation of violence, acceptance of the Government of Sri Lanka’s offer of amnesty, and participation as a political party in a process to achieve a just and lasting political solution.”

Members of the European Parliament call on the government and the LTTE to “abide by the rules of war, to minimise harm to civilians during military operations and to immediately allow the thousands of civilians trapped in the conflict zone safe passage and access to humanitarian aid.”

They also underline the need for international monitors to “assess the humanitarian needs of a quarter of a million people trapped in the Wanni region ” and to ensure proper distribution of food and other humanitarian assistance, particularly as the fighting comes closer to the trapped civilian population.

The House reiterated its condemnation of the “appalling abuse of children constituted by the recruitment of child soldiers” by rebel groups, and urged the government to give urgent attention to the clearance of landmines, “the presence of which may present a serious obstacle to rehabilitation and economic regeneration”.

The EP welcomed the Sri Lankan Government’s pledge to ensure full, open and transparent investigations into all alleged violations of media freedom in order also to “address the culture of impunity and indifference over killings and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka”.

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