Assistant Secretary Boucher Speaks with the Tokyo Co-Chairs

Press Statement
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
April 9, 2009

Representatives of the Tokyo Co-Chairs (U.S., European Union, Norway and Japan) convened a conference call this morning to discuss the humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher participated for the United States.

Co-Chair members expressed urgent concern for the safety of more than a hundred thousand people trapped by the conflict between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a narrow strip of land in northern Sri Lanka. They call on the Tamil Tigers to permit freedom of movement for the civilians in the area. They discussed the need for the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to respect the ‘no fire zone’ and protect the civilians trapped there. They reaffirmed the need to stop shelling into the ‘no fire zone’ to prevent further civilian casualties. They stressed the importance of a humanitarian pause and of ensuring that adequate supplies of food, water and medicine reach the civilians in the zone. Assistant Secretary Boucher and the other Co-Chair representatives discussed how to best end the futile fighting without further bloodshed.

The conversation took place during a conference call initiated by the State Department.

PRN: 2009/313