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EU calls for immediate ceasefire in northern Sri Lanka

[Xinhua, Monday, 23 February 2009 11:14 No Comment]

The European Union (EU) called on Monday for an immediate ceasefire in northern Sri Lanka to facilitate full and unrestricted access allowing humanitarian aid to be safely delivered and civilians to leave the conflict area, and urged the country’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels to lay down its arms and renounce terrorism and violence "once and for all."


    In a statement issued at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, the EU said that it is deeply concerned about the evolving humanitarian crisis and vast number of Internally Displaced People trapped by the fighting in northern Sri Lanka, as well as the continuing reports of high civilian casualties.


    "To prevent the loss of civilian life, the EU stresses the need for the provisions of international humanitarian law and the principles of the laws of war to be respected by parties to a conflict. The EU calls on the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to comply with these laws," said the statement.


    While condemning the LTTE’s use of violence and intimidation to prevent civilians from leaving the conflict area, the EU urged the LTTE to lay down its arms and to renounce terrorism and violence once and for all, end the inhuman use of child soldiers and forced recruitment, and participate in a political process to achieve a just and lasting solution, and called on the Sri Lankan authorities to engage in an inclusive political process which addresses the legitimate concerns of all communities.


    The EU stressed that the long standing conflict in Sri Lanka could not be resolved by military means, adding that a military defeat of the LTTE will only reemphasize the need to find a political solution in order to ensure a lasting peace.

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