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Friday, May 1

NZ calls for immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire in northern Sri Lanka to allow trapped civilians to leave the conflict zone. 

"With the conflict in Sri Lanka coming to a close, a real risk exists that up to 50,000 trapped civilians could perish in the final phase of the fighting," Mr McCully said.

"According to a United Nations tally, nearly 6500 people have been killed in fighting since late January. 

"Both the Sri Lankan Army and the Tamil Tigers must stop fighting immediately to save civilian lives, and look for a long-term, peaceful solution to this conflict.

"Both sides must allow also urgently-needed medical assistance and food supplies to be delivered, and allow international agencies and media access to the conflict zone to monitor what is happening.

"The Tamil Tigers must also allow civilians to leave," Mr McCully said.