Sri Lanka Tigers urged by Britain to free Tamils

LONDON , September 26, 2008 (AFP) – Britain voiced deep concern Friday about the situation in Sri Lanka, where government forces have advanced to the outskirts of the northern Tamil Tiger rebel capital.

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The Foreign Office called for access to be kept open for aid agencies, and urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels to act urgently to allow free movement of civilians.

“The recent increased hostilities in the north of Sri Lanka are of acute concern to the UK government,” said junior Foreign Office minister Mark Malloch-Brown and aid minister Shahid Malik in a joint statement.

“We welcome the government of Sri Lanka recognising its responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict and its continued co-ordination with humanitarian agencies,” they added.

But they said: “We urge the LTTE to take urgent action to allow free movement of civilians.

“We call on both parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to enable free access for humanitarian agencies and the protection of civi