The European Union called on Monday for an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka, urged the Tamil Tigers to lay down its weapons and stressed that the conflict cannot be resolved by military means.
"The EU is deeply concerned about the evolving humanitarian crisis and vast number of Internally Displaced People trapped by the fighting as well as continuing reports of high civilian casualties," said the EU foreign ministers at their regular monthly meeting in Brussels.
"The EU calls for an immediate ceasefire, thereby providing for the establishment of full and unrestricted access, allowing humanitarian aid to be safely delivered and allowing civilians to leave the conflict area," EU AsiaNews quoted their statement as saying.
The EU also condemned the use of violence and intimidation to prevent civilians from leaving the conflict area by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The EU remains convinced, said the ministers, that the long standing conflict in Sri Lanka cannot be resolved by military means.
"A military defeat of the LTTE will only reemphasize the need to find a political solution in order to ensure a lasting peace," noted the statement.
It called on the LTTE to "lay down its arms and to renounce terrorism and violence once and for all, end the inhuman use of child soldiers and forced recruitment, and participate in a political process to achieve a just and lasting solution".
The EU ministers said they were deeply concerned about grave violations of human rights, in particular the cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings as well as harassment, intimidation, attacks on the media and human rights defenders and the climate of impunity.
"The EU calls on the Sri Lankan authorities to take decisive action to tackle human rights abuses, to guarantee press freedom and to disarm paramilitary groups in government controlled areas."