Obama Accuses Sri Lanka of Killing Hundreds of Own Civilians in Shelling

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Thursday, May 14th, 2009
President Barack Obama

Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama has called upon the Sri Lankan government to cease its bombardment of the no-fire zone and allow UN and other humanitarian agencies access to the civilians trapped in fierce fighting between the army and remnants of the LTTE.

President Obama urged the LTTE to "lay down their arms and let the civilians go" whilst also asking the government to stop what he termed as "the indiscriminate shelling that has taken hundreds of innocent lives" and ravaged several hospitals. "The government should also live up to its commitment to not use heavy weapons in the conflict zone," the U.S. President insisted. 

Addressing the media briefly before boarding his helicopter to Arizona, the American President, who spoke publicly on Sri Lanka for the first time since he assumed office, also asked the government to allow "UN and ICRC access to the 190,000 civilians" trapped in government's internment camps. "I don't believe that we can delay," emphasised Obama, who asserted that the U.S. "stands ready to work with the international community to support the people of Sri Lanka in this time of suffering."

His comments come a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Minister David Miliband issued a joint statement on the humanitarian "catastrophe" in the so called 'no-fire zone', and in the wake of daily reports of intense shelling and heavy civilian casualties.

Meanwhile, government sources indicate that the military is less than 48 hours away from announcing a "total victory" in its offensive operations in the north.

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