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Sri Lanka pressed to halt conflict
Posted on: 24-04-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

So many lives have been sacrificed. There is no time to lose," Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said in Brussels on Thursday as he announced the sending of a team to the war zone in Sri Lanka's north.

"The purpose of this humanitarian team would be to, first of all, monitor the situation and support humanitarian assistance and try to do whatever we can to protect the civilian population," he said, urging the government to co-operate.

The Sri Lankan minister for disaster management and human rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, said the UN had not made an official request yet but added: "Once we have been informed, we will see certainly see how we can facilitate such a visit."

The UN estimates that 50,000 civilians continue to be trapped between the army and the separatists known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The army said LTTE fighters were putting up stiff resistance despite being cornered into an area smaller than 12 sq km on the northeast coast, ignoring calls for their surrender.

Neighbour India called on Sri Lanka's government to halt its military campaign on Thursday.



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