Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sri Lankan rebels declare unilateral cease-fire

COLOMBO (AP) – Tamil Tiger rebels declared a unilateral cease-fire on Sunday as a top U.N. official pressed Sri Lankan leaders to let aid into the northeastern war zone where tens of thousands of civilians are trapped.

The rebels asked the international community to pressure the government into halting its campaign, saying the "humanitarian crisis can only be overcome by the declaration of an immediate cease-fire."

The rebels, who have voluntarily halted their fight before, said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press that they would immediately stop fighting.

The United Nations and others have been pushing for a truce to allow civilians to escape, as reports have grown of starvation and casualties among those trapped by the fighting.

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