Sri Lanka: Mine clearance begins on highway
05-04-2002 News Release 02/14
On 1 April mine-clearance operations began on a stretch of highway between the forward defence lines of the government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the Jaffna Peninsula. The operations, which are being facilitated by the ICRC, will make it possible to open the A-9 highway to civilian traffic later this month.
After being approached by the government and the LTTE, the ICRC, which acts as a neutral intermediary in the Sri Lankan conflict, sent staff to Muhamalai, where a crossing point will be opened, to assist the parties in the exchange of information during the operations.
The government forces and the LTTE are entirely responsible for mine clearance on their respective sides of the crossing point and for the safety of the area once the operations have been completed.
The ICRC was also asked by the parties to stay on at Muhamalai once the crossing point is open so as to facilitate traffic and protect civilians and truck convoys crossing the lines.