17 October, 2006
PM condemns suicide bomb attack in Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Helen Clark today strongly condemned the suicide attack on a Sri Lankan military bus convoy which has killed at least 99 people and injured over 100 more.
“I deplore this cowardly attack and convey my condolences to the Government of Sri Lanka and the families and friends of those affected. There is no possible justification for such dreadful carnage", Helen Clark said.
“This is the latest tragedy in Sri Lanka where security has deteriorated over recent months. At least 2,000 people have already been killed in the violence in Sri Lanka this year. There is a significant Sri Lankan community in New Zealand who I know are deeply concerned about recent developments in the country.
“New Zealand calls on the parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka to cease all hostilities immediately, and create a favourable environment for the peace talks scheduled to open in Geneva on 28 October. The only way forward is through negotiation.
“I have been concerned more generally at the increasing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, including the killing of aid workers. New Zealand urges the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to ensure that humanitarian aid deliveries are granted free access to conflict affected areas and that the security of humanitarian workers will be guaranteed.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (www.safetravel.govt.nz) notes that there is extreme risk to personal security in northern and eastern Sri Lanka due to fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan authorities, and advises New Zealanders not to travel to these areas," Helen Clark said.