Ensure civilians’ safety: Liam Fox

By Leon Berenger

Visiting Tory MP and UK Shadow Defence Secretary Dr. Liam Fox yesterday said the safety of civilians caught up in the war zone in the Wanni should not be compromised at any level in the evacuation effort.

Dr. Fox, who has called on all parties to the conflict to respect international obligations, said it would be very damaging to the country’s reputation if civilians should be harmed in any way. He also appealed to the international community to stop criticising the Colombo government, but rather help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.

Dr. Liam Fox

He also called on the government to not delay the political and democratic process in the North, and to involve other political parties, including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), in the effort.

“It is the duty of the authorities to ascertain that the rights of every citizen are protected as the government launches the reconstruction and political programmes, once the LTTE is totally defeated in the North and elsewhere,” Dr. Fox said.

“The government must also endorse genuine reforms in the war-torn areas if it is to prevent a resurgence of what has taken place in this country over the past three decades.”

Dr. Fox, who is in the country at the invitation of the government, also urged the government to set up an “independent grouping”, with full transparency, to collect funds from Sri Lankans living overseas.

“Such a grouping should also have an international shield to ensure transparency, so it could be seen that the funds collected are for genuine purposes,” he said.

He said pro-LTTE platform of overseas-based Sri Lankans would not influence the British government’s current stand regarding the Sri Lanka issue.

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