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Sri Lanka: International Assistance

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Sri Lankan Government on their recent decision to turn away the Vanni Mercy Mission ship MV Captain Ali; and if he will make a statement. (280598)

We have had no discussions with the Government of Sri Lanka about the ship, MV Captain Ali, since it left Sri Lankan waters. Our clear position throughout has been that assistance should be delivered through the correct humanitarian channels and with the necessary clearances.

We remain greatly concerned at the humanitarian situation facing the 280,000 civilians displaced by the recent fighting in Sri Lanka and have committed a total of £12.5 million of humanitarian assistance since September 2008, channelled through UN and independent humanitarian agencies.

We continue to press for full and unhindered access to the UN and other humanitarian organisations on the ground.