Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No foreign evacuation mission - FM

Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that the Government has not permitted any international forces to evacuate civilians from the Vanni.

"Certain reports published regarding the arrival of US marines in Sri Lanka to transport civilians on the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government are baseless and incorrect," the Minister said.

Addressing a media briefing in Colombo yesterday, the Minister said that the Government has not made any request to the US Army to support the evacuation process in Sri Lanka.

"We have also not received any proposal from any country in this regard," the Minister said. He said that US has always extended its support in countering terrorism in Sri Lanka.

"We welcome proposals from any country or foreign agency if they are not concerned in safeguarding the terrorists,"he said. Since the Armed Forces are engaged in fulfilling their duties in eliminating terrorism in the North, the Government has committed to streamline the evacuation process of civilians without harming them.

The Government without having any political interest is committed to ensure the protection of civilians.

"We have improved medical facilities while providing necessary food supplies to civilians fleeing from Mulaitivu," he said.

He said the International community is very concerned about the ongoing evacuation of civilians and their medical facilities.

"We are trying to increase the numbers of civilians being evacuated ," he said.Meanwhile, commenting on the Lahore attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Minister said investigations in this regard are proceeding well. The Pakistan leadership is very much concerned about the ongoing investigation, while the Sri Lankan Government has been kept informed about the developments . "We will shortly inform the media about the results", he said.

The Minister commenting on his tour to Vietnam said that the Vietnamese government has pledged to extended its support to the Sri Lankan Government in the effort to counter terrorism.