Lanka President invites UN chief to see Tamil refugee status
Colombo, May 7 (ANI): Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited U N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit the island nation to see for himself the situation in the camps where Tamil refugees are lodged.
Rajapaksa's invitation came during a telephonic conservation on Wednesday amid concerns over the fate of an estimated 20,000 civilians trapped in the northern war zone.
"President asked Ban to visit the island to assess the situation at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps," an official statement said.
According to the statement, Rajapaksa told Ban that "he would then be able to make a better assessment of the conditions faced by the Tamil civilians still held hostage by the LTTE in a small stretch of the Civilian Safety Zone."
"There could also be a better understanding of the cooperation between the Government and the United Nations and its relief organisations and well as with Sri Lankan and foreign NGOs, in these temporary transit locations for the IDPs," the statement quoted Rajapaksa as saying to the UN chief.
However, no date has been fixed for Ban's visit. The Sri Lankan government had earlier invited UN officials and other diplomats for assessment missions.
According to a Times Now TV report Rajapaksa had yesterday told a group of visiting cross-party Members of Parliament from the UK not to be misled by the increased false propaganda of the LTTE about the situation in the war zone.
"He told the lawmakers to see for themselves the actual situation prevailing regarding the IDPs by visiting Vavuniya, and to better understand the nature of the LTTE and its commitment to violence and terror to achieve its goals," a statement said.
During his earlier telephonic conversation with the UN chief on April 9, Rajapaksa had said: "LTTE was solely responsible for the plight of the Tamil population it was holding as human shield in the No-Fire-Zone." (ANI)