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* Sri Lanka condemns loss of civilian lives in Gaza
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 12:10 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 24, Geneva: Sri Lanka expressed deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of civilian lives, and extensive damage to property and condemned "all acts of deliberate attacks causing mayhem and loss of life of civilians."

"One cannot remain unmoved by the cruel fate of children who are innocent victims of violence. We offer our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and for the devastation and grief they have suffered recently," Sri Lanka's. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said.

Delivering a statement at the 21st Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem on Wednesday (July 23), the Sri Lankan envoy said Sri Lanka is convinced that "dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issues confronting the region and reaffirm our commitment to a peaceful solution."

Sri Lanka called upon the parties concerned to exercise the utmost restraint in a bid to halt the violence and ensure a climate conducive to the recommencement of negotiations for a lasting solution to the conflict.

"We urge the parties to engage at the earliest in direct dialogue, which is the only sustainable path to peace and security in the region. We remain hopeful that since both parties wish to secure the right to life for their peoples, concerted action would be taken towards this end."

Sri Lanka suggested that the Egyptian ceasefire initiative would be a meaningful starting point for this purpose.

The Sri Lankan representative noted that the draft resolution presented to the Council in this regard "provides a trajectory in keeping with the ground situation, to overcome the challenge to achieve peace and security in the region," which Sri Lanka hoped would get the widest support in the Council.

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