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Seize ceasefire offer: India tells Lanka

Noting with grave concern the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, India today asked Colombo to seize the opportunity provided by LTTE's ceasefire offer to bring about a pause in hostilities and work for safe passage for trapped civilians.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2009 12:55 AM IST

New Delhi has asked Colombo to “seize the opportunity” presented by LTTE's ceasefire offer and utilise it to “facilitate the movement of Tamil population out of the war-affected areas”.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a statement on Saturday appealed to the Sri Lankan government to work out a safe passage for trapped civilians.

“India views with grave concern the humanitarian crisis... there are reports that over 70,000 civilians are trapped in the conflict zone in Sri Lanka and there is acute shortage of food, water and medicines,” the statement said.

“Government of India would appeal to the Sri Lankan government to immediately work out safe passage for trapped civilians to secure locations. This would require the cooperation of the LTTE.”

The pause in LTTE hostilities, the statement said, must be utilised to facilitate the movement of Tamil population out of war-affected areas to secure locations where proper rehabilitation is possible and international aid organisations have free access and scope to provide medical and humanitarian aid.

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