News

    US Urges Tamil Tiger Surrender, Aid for Sri Lankan Refugees

    The United States Friday called on remaining Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka to lay down their arms and surrender to a third party. U.S. officials are also pressing Sri Lankan authorities to allow aid worker access to displaced persons in the rebels' last stronghold.

    The United States is calling for the surrender of beleaguered Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka and for authorities in Colombo to allow United Nations personnel into the last combat area, and to sites where Tamil refugees fleeing the fighting are being registered and temporarily housed.

    The State Department comments, the strongest to date on the burgeoning crisis in Sri Lanka, came as the Colombo government's military tightened its siege of the last remaining strip of coastal territory in the northern part of the country held by the rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the LTTE.

    The small beachfront enclave had been an army-declared no-fire zone to protect Tamil refugees, but there has been shelling in and out of the strip, which was cut in half earlier this week by an army incursion. Most of an estimated 125-thousand displaced Tamil civilians in the zone have fled but tens of thousands are believed to remain.

    At a news briefing, State Department Acting Spokesman Robert Wood said the United States is extremely concerned for the safety of the remaining civilians. He renewed the U.S. call for the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, accused of using civilians as human shields, to end the hostilities. "The Tamil Tigers must stop holding civilians and stop putting them in harm's way. We call on the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and surrender to a third party. The international community needs to provide assistance to a large number of displaced persons. The international community should be prepared to play a role to end the fighting," he said.

    Wood stressed U.S. support for peacemaking efforts by senior envoys from the Indian government, which has demanded a truce in the closing phase of the Sri Lankan conflict.

    The LTTE, which is listed by the United States as a terrorist group, has waged war for more than 25 years to carve out a Tamil enclave in the northern part of the majority-Sinhalese island nation.

    Wood said the United States is in constant diplomatic contact with the Colombo government and is also consulting on the crisis with other member governments of the G-8 industrial powers and the Tokyo Co-Chairs grouping on Sri Lanka, which includes the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway.

    The spokesman said Sri Lanka should allow a U.N. humanitarian team into the former no-fire zone as soon as possible, and to also give the United Nations access to sites where displaced Tamils who have left the contested area are being registered and sent to housing sites.

    He further urged the government to allow additional medical evacuations from the area, where U.N. officials believe casualties have been heavy.

    U.S. officials have been appealing to the Colombo government for restraint, saying the way the conflict ends will affect inter-ethnic relations in the country for years to come.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora