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UN chief concerned over Sri Lanka violence
September 10, 2008 12:13 IST
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the escalating violence between government forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels in northern Sri Lanka [Images] and reminded the two parties of their obligation to ensure the safety of civilians.
Ban's statement comes in the wake of Sri Lankan government's request that United Nations relief workers relocate from conflict affected areas.
The United Nations has already announced its decision to withdraw its aid workers from Sri Lanka's embattled north, where a major military offensive is underway.
Ban reminded all parties "of their responsibilities to take active steps to ensure the safety and freedom of movement of civilians, to allow humanitarian organisations to do their work in safety".
In his statement, Ban emphasised strongly the importance of a negotiated settlement to the political problems facing Sri Lanka.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says fighting between government forces and the LTTE [Images] uprooted 12,000 families in the month of July alone.
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