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UN chief urges LTTE to lay down arms


Brussels : UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday expressed his concern over the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka and repeated his appeal to the Tamil rebels to lay down arms to end the nation’s 25-year civil war.

“I am most concerned at the rapid deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka. I would like to take this opportunity to strongly urge all the parties concerned to respect the call of the Security Council I made yesterday, without further delay,” Ban told reporters in Brussels following an international donor’s conference for Somalia.

The UN chief also said he would immediately send a UN humanitarian team whose purpose will be to monitor the situation and support humanitarian assistance and “try to do whatever we can to protect the civilian population”, EuAsiaNews reported.

“I again strongly urge the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to lay down the weapons and to do whatever to protect the civilian population. So many lives have been scarified, there is no time to lose,” he added.

According to Sri Lankan government, over 104,000 civilians have escaped the conflict since Monday, but an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 civilians still trapped in the coastal strip, measuring just 12 sq km, controlled by the Tamil Tigers.