President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a telephone call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas on Friday to express his solidarity with the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip which has come under continuous Israeli air attack for the past eight days.
Palestinian Ambassador Anwer al-Agha said Mr. Abbas in his telephone conversation with Mr. Rajapaksa explained efforts being taken by the Palestinian Authority and the international community to end Israel’s bombing campaign which had so far killed more than 430 people and wounded more than 2,500.
The Palestinian leader sought Sri Lanka’s help in pushing through a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, according to the ambassador.
President Rajapaksa, a long-time champion of the Palestinian cause, expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people and assured Sri Lanka would extend its fullest support for international efforts to end the crisis and instruct Sri Lanka’s UN envoy accordingly.
Earlier, the Government of Sri Lanka issued a statement through its Foreign Ministry, expressing deep concern over the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip.
“Sri Lanka calls upon all parties concerned to end the violence to ensure a climate conducive for the re-commencement of negotiations to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Sri Lanka has been a constant advocate for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent Palestinian State within secure borders to co-exist in peace with its neighbours,” the statement said.
It said Sri Lanka called upon the parties to exercise utmost restraint and work towards immediate de-escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.
Observers say the statement has been carefully worded not to cause any strain in Sri Lanka’s ties with Israel, which is one of the key suppliers of defence material to Sri Lanka.
In contrast, the JVP in a statement slammed Israel for what it called “heinous crimes committed by the Zionists.”
In a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said his party condemned with the utmost hatred the killers of Palestinian people.
The JVP urged the UN chief to take immediate and meaningful action to stop further killing of Palestinians.
“The JVP has no doubt that the Zionist regime in Israel has committed not one but several serious crimes against humanity. Under former Secretaries-Generals, the UN has failed to indict before the International Court in The Hague those Zionists who committed crimes against humanity. It is Your Excellency's responsibility to move a resolution at the Security Council against the Zionist criminals without any delay,” Mr. Amarasinghe said.