Two-day truce in Sri Lanka not enough: UN official | world | Hindustan Times
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Two-day truce in Sri Lanka not enough: UN official

A top UN official has said that the two-day truce in Sri Lanka that ended on Wednesday is not enough to alleviate the sufferings of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone of the country and called for its extension.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2009 07:56 IST

A top UN official has said that the two-day truce in Sri Lanka that ended on Wednesday is not enough to alleviate the sufferings of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone of the country and called for its extension.

UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holms told reporters at the world body's headquarters in New York that the 48-hour ceasefire between the Sri Lankan Army and LTTE had been a valuable first step in allowing trapped civilians to leave the conflict area.

"But it's clear that 48 hours was not long enough to allow us to get in significant amounts of aid, or indeed to allow visits by humanitarian workers to the area," Holmes said and called for a humanitarian pause for longer than two days and agreed to by both sides.

Holms alleged that during the ceasefire LTTE actively prevented those who wanted to leave from getting out from the no-fire zone -- a 14-square km area in the northern Vanni region of Sri Lanka.

Civilians should not be used as "pawns or human shields" in that way, he said.

Holmes said that LTTE was the biggest obstacle to people trying to leave the no-fire zone, though, at the same time, the Government should stop the use of heavy weapons.