5 March 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12126

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY DEPLORES MOUNTING CIVILIAN DEATH TOLL IN SRI LANKA


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


The Secretary-General isextremely concerned over the deteriorating situation for civilians trapped in northern Sri Lanka.  He strongly deplores the mounting death toll of civilians in the area of fighting, including a significant number of children.  There is an urgent need to bring this conflict to a speedy end without further loss of civilian life.  In this respect, the Secretary-General renews his call to the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to suspend hostilities for the purposes of allowing civilians to leave the conflict zone, and allowing immediate humanitarian access to them.


The Secretary-General calls on LTTE to remove its weapons and fighters from areas of civilian concentration, to cooperate in all humanitarian efforts calculated to relieve the suffering of civilians, and to immediately cease recruitment of children.


The Secretary-General strongly urges the Government to begin serious efforts to resolve the underlying causes of conflict.


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For information media • not an official record