Mr. Santow's dialogue with S. Walgampaya on the Tamil civilians
Simon Santow of The World Today discussed the treatment of the Tamil civilians by the Sri lanka military with Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya while on an official visit to Fiji.
The LTTE was also discussed during the meeting.
One of the questions Mr. Santow asked was whether it was true or not the civilians are being used to walk through minefields by the military so the military is not endangered?
Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya, spoke to The World Today's Simon Santow while on an official visit to Fiji.
"Well our President has given them [Tamil Tigers] an ultimatum. They have asked the rebels to lay down arms and surrender. The ultimatum has now expired but the Government will perhaps extend the ultimatum," Mr Walgampaya said.
Simon Santow: Now the Sri Lankan military in the process of carrying out these operations is being accused of doing exactly what you are accusing the rebels of doing and that is using civilians as human shields. What reassurance can you give that that is not the case?
Senaka Walgampaya: Well that is very uncalled for. The Government is making every effort to allow the civilians to come into the government-controlled areas. The Government is not using the civilians and the Government is making every effort and endeavour to allow the civilians to come out.
Simon Santow: What about the areas, High Commissioner, where there are thought to be minefields? Can you give a categorical answer on whether or not civilians are being used to walk through those minefields by the military so the military is not endangered?
Senaka Walgampaya: No, certainly not. The Government wants to clear the minefield and then only allow civilians to go out with absolutely.... the civilians to clear the minefield is absolutely false.
Simon Santow: There is criticism of the Sri Lankan Government that there is no independent monitoring going on at the moment. That there are no aid agencies, even the United Nations or the media allowed in this area.
Senaka Walgampaya: The Government has been providing food, medicines and all medical assistance to the field and to the... and there were some programs there on the ground. They are saying that the Government is not allowing them but media personnel have also been allowed to go in but they are not encouraged to stay because we cannot guarantee their safety and security so for the security of the media, the Government is not permitting them to go into the conflict area.
Simon Santow: If indeed, we are near the end of this very, very long running conflict what guarantees can you given though that the Tamil Tigers will not just concentrate on some of their other tactics like assassination, suicide bombs, those sorts of things?
Senaka Walgampaya: There are certain theories that suggest that will come out and then they will turn into guerrilla and that also it is said that the escape from Sri Lanka, they could well go and join other terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda.
Most Recommended Comment
Voth, Texas, United States