Germany calls for humanitarian assistance in Sri Lanka

Published on 22 January 2009

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Thursday for humanitarian assistance to be delivered to civilians cut off by government and rebel clashes in the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka, reproted dpa. Steinmeier expressed concern for more than 300,000 refugees on a coastal 30-kilometre strip of land, in the area held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel group. "They have been completely cut off from international aid for more than 10 days," the German foreign minister said. "The most important thing now is to negotiate a ceasefire, to enable aid deliveries and medical care for the civilians in the disputed areas," he added. [...] International aid organizations were advised by the Sri Lankan government to leave the disputed north-east region in September 2008. The United Nations World Food Programme and the ICRC are the only two aid organizations operating in the region. Germany's ambassador to Colombo recently angered the Sri Lankan government with comments made at the funeral of a murdered newspaper editor.

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