London, Apr.16 (ANI): British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner have accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) of using civilians as human shields in the conflict zone.
In a joint statement issued in London, both Miliband and Kouchner urged Colombo to declare a new ceasefire to allow aid in and civilians out.
"We are deeply concerned that there was no large scale movement of civilians away from the conflict area to safety as we had hoped to see, in the short period allowed for the pause. It is clear that the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) have been forcefully preventing civilians from leaving the conflict area and we deplore their determination to use civilians as a human shield," The Telegraph quoted the joint statement, as saying.
"We urge President (Mahinda) Rajapakse to announce a new pause. Democratic governments are rightly held to higher standards for civilian protection than terrorist organisations. It is vital that a pause in the fighting should be long enough to give civilians the opportunity to leave the conflict area, and for the UN to build confidence among the population that they will be safe if they leave," the statement added.
Miliband and Kouchner urged both sides to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and to do everything they could to protect civilians, including allowing "unimpeded access" to humanitarian agencies. (ANI)