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Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 06.09 GMT
Sri Lankan forces did not target civilians - Secretary to the President

 

Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said that Sri Lankan armed forces neither targeted civilians nor used heave weapons during the final months of the conflict. He said this in an interview with the Associated Press.

He denied any such targeting of civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces, or even the use of heavy weapons in the final months of the war, although he acknowledged there could have been “collateral damage” during the fighting when the Tamil Tigers were using civilians as human shields.

When asked about alleged large scale killings, Mr Weeratunga said that there was no record that hundreds of people were killed during the final stages of the war. “You can’t just pass judgment like that,” he said that there was no record that hundreds of people were killed during the final stages of the war.

He likened the threat of an international inquiry into war crimes to a sword of Damocles hanging by a thread over Sri Lanka. He argued the government has only had 18 months to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). He warned that if that process was mishandled, it could trigger renewed conflict.

An international inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka would bring chaos, and the government's national reconciliation process must be given several more years to work, Secretary to the President said earlier in an interview with Reuters. He said Sri Lanka needed at least five years from the July 2012 date the government regards as the start of its reconciliation process for the effort to take root.

"After 26 years of conflict ... we want to make it a sustainable peace. It's a very delicate, delicate process. Reconciliation is not a task that can be achieved in a day or two," said Mr. Weeratunga.

“I can’t use an American method for resolving issues in my country. I have a Sri Lankan way of doing it,” said Secretary to the President.


 


 

 
 
   
   
     
   
   

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Last modified: January 29, 2014.

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