Britain, France fail to get Sri Lanka truce

April 29, 2009 (AFP) – The foreign ministers of Britain and France said Wednesday they had failed to secure agreement on halting Sri Lanka’s military campaign and getting humanitarian access to war-trapped civilians. “We tried very hard — we insisted and we insisted — but it is up to our friends to allow it or not,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a news conference after talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also signalled the talks had ended in failure, reminding the Sri Lankan government that calls for a ceasefire were “only to save civilians” and not the Tamil Tigers.

“The international community as been asking for a ceasefire not to save (rebel leader Vellupillai) Prabhakaran, but a call to allow civilians to leave, for long term peace in Sri Lanka,” Miliband said.

The ministers also called on the Tigers to allow civilians to leave the combat zone, where the United Nations estimates up to 50,000 people are trapped.

“They are hostages of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam),” Kouchner said. “We want them freed.”

“Now is the time for the fighting to stop,” Miliband said. “Sri Lanka’s military advances have been spectac