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Sri Lanka

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the extent of reporting restrictions in place in Sri Lanka at the present time. [38458]

There are no restrictions on material produced by the international media for publication or broadcast outside Sri Lanka. Material on military issues to be published or broadcast in Sri Lanka has to be submitted to a censor.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact the Minister of State had with representatives of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka on his recent visit there. [38459]

I met a number of representatives of the Tamil minority during my recent visit to Sri Lanka, including Mr. Douglas Devanda and Mr. Neelan Tiruchelvam.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on the Sri Lankan Government's proposals for devolution in Sri Lanka. [38460]

We welcome the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to achieve a lasting political settlement to the conflict by issuing proposals for devolution in Sri Lanka.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the extent to which renewed military action between Government forces and the Tamil Tigers in the north of Sri Lanka has caused civilian casualties; and if he will make a statement on the conflict. [38461]

We do not have exact figures for civilian casualties caused in the renewed military action in the north of Sri Lanka. I raised this issue with the Sri Lankan Government during my official visit to Colombo from 8–10 October, and urged them to make every effort to avoid further civilian casualties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the reported bombing by Sri Lankan Government forces of a school at Nagar Kovil Makavithiya Layam in Vadamarachi on 22 September; and if he will make a statement on the incident. [38462]

We understand that on 22 September bombs landed close to Nagar Kovil Makavithiya Layam school in Nagar Kovil, killing over 60 people, including 34 children, and injuring many more.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response has been received, from (a) the Sri Lankan Government and (b) the Tamil Tiger rebels, to Britain's offer to facilitate negotiations, made by the Minister of State on his recent visit to Sri Lanka. [38463]

We have offered to facilitate negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on several occasions, but neither side has responded. There has been no change in this position.