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Sri Lanka invites UN chief

world Updated: May 07, 2009 00:28 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Sri Lanka on Wednesday upped the diplomatic ante by inviting UN chief Ban Ki-moon to see for himself the condition of the thousands of displaced Tamil civilians housed in government camps after moving out of the LTTE-controlled ‘no-fire zone’ (NFZ).

President Mahinda Rajapaksa extended the invitation to the UN chief during a telephone conversation, a statement from the Presidential secretariat said.

The UN chief, who spoke to reporters after the telephone conversation, however did not mention the invitation. Instead, he said, “I called for a humanitarian pause in 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. I have urged the authorities to avoid the use of artillery and heavy weaponry in zones where civilians are especially at risk. I have also appealed to the LTTE to let civilians go and stop forced recruitment."