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Minister to visit Sri Lanka as violence rages

[AFP, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 14:49 No Comment]

A British minister will visit Sri Lanka this week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Wednesday, as he urged a ceasefire in the battle between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

 

Brown said that following talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse, he also expected a delegation of MPs to visit Sri Lanka to assess the extent of humanitarian assistance available.

 

Sri Lankan government forces say they are carrying out a final offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) despite international concern about the fate of innocent civilians in the shrinking area the rebels occupy.

 

Brown told MPs at his weekly question and answer session at the House of Commons that he believed Sri Lanka was now "prepared now to accept a humanitarian delegation on a cross-party basis from the United Kingdom.

 

"To prepare the way, a DFID (Department for International Development) minister will go to Sri Lanka later this week," he added.

 

"We will press on the government the need for humanitarian help but we will also press on him the need for a ceasefire and the need for a political solution to these problems".

 

Thousands of Tamils have been protesting outside the Houses of Parliament in London for the last two weeks, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

 

[Full Coverage]

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