Sri Lanka warns diplomats, media, NGOs to act ‘responsibly’

February 1st, 2009 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 1 (DPA) Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa warned ambassadors, news agencies and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to act “with responsibility” as security forces were set to defeat the Tamil rebels.In an interview with the Sunday Island newspaper, Rajapaksa warned that those acting irresponsibly will face “dire consequences” if they “attempt to give the LTTE terrorists a second breath of life”.

Rajapaksa is President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, and has been among those spearheading the military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Island newspaper quoted him as saying that “some ambassadors, specially the German and Swiss ambassadors, and some news agencies were behaving irresponsibly”.

He accused CNN, Al Jazeera and, especially, the BBC of trying to sensationalise civilian hardships by telecasting videoclips from LTTE websites.

“They will be chased away (if they try) to give a second wind to the LTTE terrorists at a time the security forces, at heavy cost, are dealing them the final death blow,” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying.

He named a BBC journalist and said “if he does not act responsibly and attempts to create panic, I will have to chase him out of the country”.

The newspaper said Rajapaksa warned that “members of the international community - specifically the German and Swiss ambassadors who are trying to create panic - will be similarly treated”.

He urged the international community, including UN agencies and the ICRC, to maximise pressure to bear on the Lankan Tigers and make them release civilians who are trapped in the war zone and used by rebels as human shields.

He said it was irresponsible not to talk about civilians held in the war zone by the LTTE while making comments that only helped the LTTE.

The defence secretary’s comments came as government troops were on its final phase to recapture Tamil rebel held areas in the northeastern part of the country, aimed at ending a 25-year-old conflict.

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