05/14/2009, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Still more civilian deaths in Sri Lanka, as the UN flounders

by Melani Manel Perera
A hospital in the no fire zone comes under rocket attacks: 50 dead. The United Nations Security Council meets for the first time over Sri Lanka: France and Great Britain want intervention, Russia and China hide behind the policy of non-interference. US president Obama raises his voice. Washington assures it is at work “in close contact with India”.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Still more civilian victims in the so-called “no-fire zone”.  Rockets hit a school transformed into a hospital, the only in the area, killing 50 people.  The news was reported to the media by a government doctor in the zone who also confirmed that there are at lest 50 thousand still trapped there. Colombo denies the event.

The army is still speaking of the “final push” and continues its operations stretch by stretch of the coast still under LTTE control, now no more than 5 square kilometres.  The army declares they stopped a Tamil Tiger suicide attack via sea and of having found a huge arsenal of rocket launchers.

Colombo claims that 90% of the Northern Province has been freed from the rebels and the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed 19 members of a presidential Task force to organise reconstruction, development and security across the province.

On an International level the UN Security Council met yesterday to discuss Sri Lanka after months of impasse. France and Great Britain want intervention, Russia, China, Vietnam and Libya say the war is an internal problem.

Also yesterday US President Barack Obama reiterated his condemnation of the Tamil Tigers for the “forced recruitment of civilians” and their use of “human shields”.  Washington has asked Colombo to cease its bombardment of civilians and to allow the UN and Red Cross access to aid the 190 thousand refugees in camps in surrounding villages.  Today, Richard Boucher, deputy US secretary of state declared that the US is working to resolve the situation in Sri Lanka in “close contact with India”.

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