Canada Calls on Both Parties to the Conflict in Sri Lanka to Work Toward a Rapid Resolution and to Meet Humanitarian Obligations

(No. 105 - April 19, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka:

"Canada is following this issue very closely, and all Canadians hope for a speedy resolution to this humanitarian tragedy. As a first step, Canada calls for a resumption of the humanitarian pause. Both sides must allow the safe and voluntary movement of civilians from combat zones and ensure full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to those in need. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must stop preventing civilians from leaving the remaining LTTE-controlled territory and must allow freedom of movement to civilians under their control. The Government of Sri Lanka must demonstrate the necessary degree of restraint in order to facilitate the free movement of non-combatants to safety.

"We will continue to clearly state our view of the way forward for peace in Sri Lanka. I have spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Canadian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Angela Bogdan today on the humanitarian issues of concern, such as access to water, sanitation and medical support. I have instructed our high commissioner to continue Canada's engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka on the need for assistance to internally displaced persons. The conflict cannot be resolved militarily; it can only be settled through a durable political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Sri Lanka.

"Canada calls on the LTTE to discuss with the Government of Sri Lanka the terms for ending hostilities, including the renunciation of violence, the laying down of arms, and acceptance of the Government of Sri Lanka's offer of amnesty, as the first step toward an inclusive political dialogue that can contribute to a lasting peace."

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