As thousands of civilians remain trapped in a tiny coastal strip under LTTE control in Sri Lanka's northern war zone, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to call a humanitarian pause to the fighting.
Observing that he has been personally monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka on a daily basis, Ban said he asked Rajapaksa during a telephonic conversation to put a humanitarian pause to the fighting.
"This would allow more desperately needed aid, above all food and medicines, to get in. It will allow the UN to have access to the conflict zone to assess the situation properly. It will save lives," he told reporters in his monthly press conference at the UN headquarters.
He said he had asked the authorities to avoid use of artillery and heavy weaponry in zones where civilians are especially at risk and also appealed to the LTTE to let civilians go and stop forced recruitment.
"I have also appealed to the LTTE to let civilians go and stop forced recruitment. There is urgent need to bring the conflict to a peaceful and orderly end," Ban said.
Ban said it is vital for the government lay out the conditions to end the conflict without further bloodshed.
"Protecting civilians and respecting international humanitarian law, must be priority one. The world is watching events closely, including for violations of international law," Ban said.