Switzerland calls to end fighting in Sri Lanka

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The Swiss foreign ministry urges Sri Lanka and the Tamil rebels to respect humanitarian law.

GENEVA - Switzerland joined global calls Thursday for an end to fighting in Sri Lanka and urged all sides to respect humanitarian law, saying about 200,000 civilians were "caught in the crossfire".

The Swiss foreign ministry made an "urgent appeal for all parties to respect international humanitarian law and put an end to hostilities" pitting Sri Lanka's military against Tamil Tiger rebels.

Berne "deplored the already considerable number of civilian victims of the lack of respect of international humanitarian law, notably the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force".

It said "the lack of respect of international humanitarian law .... already claimed a huge number of victims and endangered some 200,000 civilians caught in the crossfire".

Around 43,000 Tamils live in Switzerland, according to community representatives.

Sri Lanka's government rejected international calls for negotiations to end the fighting against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which appear to be near defeat amid a military offensive.

The United States, European Union, Japan and Norway asked the rebels to stop fighting and take part in a political dialogue to end Sri Lanka's civil unrest which claimed over 70,000 lives since 1972.

[AFP / Expatica]

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