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Sri Lanka: ICRC extends presence at Omanthai crossing point

26-10-2007 News Release 07/36

At the request of the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the ICRC has agreed to extend its presence at the Omanthai crossing point in Vavuniya district to six days a week (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) starting on Saturday 27 October.

The decision was announced today in Colombo by Toon Vandenhove, the ICRC head of delegation.

The request to open the crossing point between the government-controlled and the LTTE-held areas on Saturdays was made to allow for the transport to the Wanni region of more than 3,500 tonnes of fertilizer during the growing season. " The ICRC agreed to extend its presence at Omanthai in order to help out the region's farmers, " said Mr Vandenhove. " The extra day will make it easier for both parties to check the hundreds of trucks transporting vital fertilizer in addition to the usual traffic crossing the lines from Monday to Friday. " The parties agreed that only convoys carrying fertilizer will be allowed to cross Omanthai on Saturdays.

In August, at the request of both parties to the conflict, the ICRC had already agreed to extend its presence at Omanthai to five days a week, allowing 50,000 people and 7,000 vehicles on average to pass through the crossing point each month.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Davide Vignati, ICRC Colombo, tel : +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 77 728 96 82  

 Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel : +94 77 315 88 44