Following is the text of a joint statement on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka issued today, May 12, 2009, by the United States and the United Kingdom, following the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the Department of State in Washington, DC.
During their meeting today, Secretary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband expressed their profound concern about the humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities. They expressed alarm at the large number of reported civilian causalities over the past several days in the designated “safe” zone.
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband call on all sides to end hostilities immediately and allow for the safe evacuation of the tens of thousands of civilians trapped within the safe zone. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam must lay down their arms and allow civilians free passage out of the conflict zone. The government of Sri Lanka must abide by its commitment of April 27 to end major combat operations and the use of heavy weapons.
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband express their appreciation for the continued efforts of the United Nations and their staff on the ground in Sri Lanka. They call on the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to allow a UN humanitarian team to visit the conflict zone to facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians. They urge both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, ensure the safety of aid and medical workers, and permit humanitarian access to all sites where displaced persons are being registered or being provided shelter. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband call for a political solution that reconciles all Sri Lankans, and establishes a meaningful role for Tamil and other minorities in national political life.