UN to send team to Sri Lankan “no-fire zone”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said on Thursday he was concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and was sending a humanitarian team to a “no-fire zone” where civilians are trapped.

He urged all sides to respect a U.N. Security Council appeal on Wednesday which also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation and the plight of civilians. “I am most concerned at the rapidly deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka,” Ban told a news conference in Brussels after attending an international donors conference on Somalia. “I intend to immediately dispatch a U.N. humanitarian team to the no-fire zone. 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 who are caught in the fire zone.” He said the U.N. team must be allowed into the no-fire zone as quickly as possible and asked for strong support and speedy assistance from the government. Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in rebel territory in the no-fire zone in northern Sri Lanka. Ban urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to lay down their arms and protect civilians. The LTTE have been accused of using civilians trapped in a 5-square-nmile (13-square-km) strip of land as human shields. “So many lives have been sacrificed. There is no time to lose,” Ban said. (Writing by Timothy Heritage; editing by Andrew Roche)

Source :- Reuter

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