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‘Civilian safety onus on LTTE’

world Updated: Feb 28, 2009 23:30 IST

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Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said on Saturday that the LTTE must lay down arms and free civilians, saying they were being held by LTTE in violation of international law.

“Estimates vary of the number of civilians trapped, from 70,000 according to the government, through around 2,00,000 according to UN estimates, up to 3,00,000 or more according to Tamil groups,” news agencies quoted United Nations Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes as saying. after his visit here last week.

Meanwhile, a top UN official has said the conditions of the displaced Tamil civilians, currently lodged in IDP camps, in Sri Lanka's embattled north are “reasonably” good and are being provided with all humanitarian assistance, a top UN official has said.

A Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry statement said Holmes gave some descriptions of his conversations with IDPs and commented on the "fairly satisfactory" physical conditions and the efforts made to have acceptable screening procedures.

HTC/Agencies