US, other envoys meet to discuss Sri Lankan fighting

NEW YORK, September 24, 2008 (AFP) – US, European Union, Japanese and Norwegian envoys met here Wednesday to discuss the latest fighting in Sri Lanka, including the need for both sides to protect civilians, a US diplomat said.

“The fighting has been expanding, heading toward the north,” Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary for south Asian affairs, told reporters after attending the meeting at the US mission of the United Nations in New York.

“We’re placing a lot of emphasis right now on the protection of human rights for civilians who are caught in the fighting and the democratic government’s responsibility for respecting and extending human rights protections to the people in the areas they take over,” Boucher said.

The participants in the meeting also discussed the need for both sides to make sure they are ensuring humanitarian deliveries to the people displaced by the fighting.

These points are being made to Sri Lankan officials both at the UN General Assembly in New York as well as in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, Boucher said.

“We’re all having meetings in New York with representatives of the Sri Lankan government,” he said, adding a Sri Lankan envoy did not attend the international meeting