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30 April 2009 - Security Council - Informal interactive debate on Sri Lanka - Remarks to the press by Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(….) we don’t put on the same footing the LTTE, which is a terrorist group and recognized as such, and the government of Sri Lanka. But that doesn’t change anything to the fact that the government of Sri Lanka has to behave and respect its commitments.

We have heard a series of commitments by the government of Sri Lanka: on the cessation of the use of heavy artillery, on the opening of the area to the United Nations team for humanitarian purposes, on the possibility for international observers to be in the first screening area for the IDPs, and to let all the humanitarian agencies act freely in the area. Unfortunately, some of those commitments are still not implemented. I am especially thinking about the use of heavy artillery: John Holmes told us that, from what he saw, the commitment was not respected.

So once again we are drawing the attention of the government of Sri Lanka to the fact that this is not acceptable behaviour. All of us are also preoccupied by the fact that while they are obviously winning the war, they have to win the peace. And if they want to win the peace they have to treat their own people in a way which will allow the government to create the conditions for national reconciliation and reconstruction process of the North.

Once again they have to win the peace.

So we will be monitoring very closely the commitments of the government. As you know we have deployed hospitals, we have medical teams and we will be working with the government of Sri Lanka in the next days to recall to them the commitments they have taken and which, once again, are going in the right direction.

(Would France support a kind of UN envoy?)

That is not the issue. The issue now is to halt the fighting, to ease the process of deployment of the humanitarian team. Mr. Nambiar was there, Mr. Holmes was there, Mr. Miliband was there, Mr. Kouchner was there, the Secretary General was very clear on what he is asking for. It is not a question of sending one more special envoy. It is a question of implementation of commitments by the government of Sri Lanka. We ask the LTTE to surrender, to stop fighting, to give back the arms and to free the hostages - which is the immediate requirement.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU