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FM urges against offensive after SLanka ceasefire

[AFP, Monday, 13 April 2009 17:55 No Comment]

David-Miliband Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Sri Lanka not to return to all-out fighting against Tamil Tiger rebels after a ceasefire, in a telephone call Monday with his Sri Lankan counterpart.


Miliband reiterated to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollogama his welcome of Colombo’s unilateral two-day ceasefire to allow trapped civilians to escape the conflict zone, a spokesman said, and urged rebels to allow civilians to leave.


"He (Miliband) said that the ceasefire could be an important first step towards the end of conflict without further civilian casualties," a Foreign Office spokesman said.


"It would be a tragedy if there is a return to intense fighting and civilian deaths after 48 hours — the government of Sri Lanka will likely need to allow more time."


After Sri Lanka stripped Norway of its role as broker of the island’s moribund peace process, the spokesman added: "The foreign secretary also emphasised that the international community has a role and can support Sri Lanka."

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