Sri Lanka calls for Red Cross escorts for food ships to Jaffna

Sept 13, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process has urged the international Red Cross to resume escorting vessels taking supplies and passengers to the northern Jaffna peninsula by sea. It said in a statement that it was keen to reduce restrictions on movement between the north and south and to ensure that normal economic activity resumes in the north.

“. . . unless there are grave security considerations, the government is anxious to encourage movement and economic activity,” the secretariat said in a statement Thursday.

It said the government’s recent decision to lift restrictions on fishing in northern and eastern waters was evidence of its commitment to the welfare of all its citizens.

“The Peace Secretariat can only hope that the international community will play a greater role in convincing the LTTE that security threats to economic activity is as unacceptable as threats to attack economic targets.”

The Secretariat said it hoped the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) would win security guarantees from the Tamil Tigers to ensure safe transport of people and goods by sea to Jaffna.

” . . .the nearer we can move to an ideal of the free flow of