US asks Tamil tigers to release civilians in ‘no fire zone’

April 9th, 2009 - 10:29 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 9 (IANS) Expressing concern about the plight of the civilians trapped in the “no fire zone” in northern Sri Lanka, the US has asked the rebel Tamils to release them and urged Colombo to engage Tamils for a political solution.
The call was made by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake during a discussion with several US-based organizations representing members of the Tamil diaspora.

Discussing the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, the two officials emphasised the urgent need for the Government of Sri Lanka to engage Tamils, including diaspora communities around the world, to find a political end of the conflict, the State Department said Wednesday.

They also emphasised US concern about the plight of the civilians trapped in the “no fire zone” in northern Sri Lanka and called on the the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to release the civilians.

Boucher and Blake reiterated that both the Tamil Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka should stop firing into and from the no-fire zone and outlined the steps the US has taken to support the civilians in the no fire zone.

The two officials welcomed the opportunity to listen to the concerns and perspectives of the American Tamil diaspora community and to share the steps the US is taking to address the humanitarian crisis,

Boucher and Blake said that they would like to continue the dialogue with the diaspora community and urged participants to continue to share feedback. The discussion took place at the State Department with Blake speaking via a digital video conference at the US Embassy in Colombo.

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