Tuesday, March 17, 2009

LTTE in a desperate end game is turning to international apologists to get it off the hook - Geoffrey Van Orden

British Conservative MEP and Chairman of the ‘Friends of Sri Lanka Group’ Geoffrey Van Orden has said, "the LTTE is now in a desperate end game and, typically in such situations, is turning to international apologists to get it off the hook". Van Orden told members of the European Parliament "the greatest service all in this House can do is to call on the LTTE to lay down its arms and to release the civil population from its grip. Then much-needed humanitarian aid can be delivered, people can begin to look forward to better lives, and all Sri Lankans can get back on the path of democratic politics and building a fair and more prosperous society for all its citizens, free from terrorist oppression".

Van Orden made these observations when he addressed the European Parliament Wednesday night, ahead of the adoption by Parliament Thursday (12 March 2009) of a resolution "condemning the LTTE’s violence and intimidation which are preventing civilians from leaving the conflict area", and "calling for an immediate ceasefire by the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in order to allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone".

Van Orden noted that "for decades now, Sri Lanka has been afflicted by a terrorist campaign conducted by the internationally proscribed LTTE. There is no equivalence between terrorists and the legitimate armed forces of a democratic government. Let us remember that it was the LTTE that perfected suicide bombing as a tactic; that it pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks; that it makes undisguised use of child soldiers and of human shields. Over the last 26 years it has systematically carried out thousands of deliberate murders across Sri Lanka. Just two days ago 14 people were murdered in a suicide attack during an Islamic festival in the Matara district".

Referring to suggestions to water down the statement in favour of the LTTE, Van Orden said “we cannot support amendments to the resolution before us based on un-attributable and often nonsensical allegations or selective quotation from one NGO report. And we have no good reason to dispute the Government's firm assertion that its troops have not fired on no-fire zones and nor will they”.

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