Co-chairs call for end to ‘futile’ Sri Lanka fighting

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2009 (AFP) – International mediators of the conflict that has pitted separatist Tamil Tigers against government forces in Sri Lanka on Thursday called for both camps to cease their “futile” fighting.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) should “permit freedom of movement for the civilians” trapped in the strife-hit northern part of the country, representatives of the Tokyo Co-Chairs — the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway — said in a statement.

The group also called on the Sri Lankan government to “respect the ‘no fire zone’ and protect the civilians trapped there,” according to the statement published by the State Department in Washington.

The mediators “reaffirmed the need to stop shelling into the ˜no fire zone’ to prevent further civilian casualties” and “stressed the importance of a humanitarian pause.”

They also said necessary food, water and medicine supplies must be able to reach civilians, the statement said.

During a teleconference organized by Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, he and the other representatives from the mediating group “discussed how to best end the futile fighting without further bloodshed,” it added.