15 August 2006

Secretary-General Increasingly Alarmed at Ongoing Violence in Sri Lanka

NEW YORK, 14 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is increasingly alarmed at the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka.

He is profoundly concerned at the rising death toll, including the seven people killed in a bomb attack in Colombo today, and reports of dozens of students killed in a school as a result of air strikes in the north-east.  He deplores the assassination over the weekend of Ketheshwaran Loganathan, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Government Peace Secretariat and veteran Tamil human rights advocate.  The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Secretary-General calls on both parties to allow humanitarian agencies free and unimpeded access to the affected population.  He draws attention to the appeals by Sri Lanka's humanitarian community for both sides to allow the civilian population to leave the contested areas.

The Secretary-General stresses that a return to civil war will not resolve the issues involved.  He joins the Sri Lanka Co-Chairs in calling on the parties to cease hostilities immediately and to return to the negotiating table.

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