Wellington, March 7 NZPA - New Zealand's Labour Party has called for a "ceasefire in the conflict in northern Sri Lanka" going a step further the UN secretary general who last week urged a "suspension in fighting".
On February 23 Ban Ki-Moon called for a "suspension in fighting" between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger separatists to allow civilians to escape.
The UN chief did not use the word ceasefire but said the UN "deplores the increasing casualties among civilians trapped in intense fighting".
There needed to be "political discussion to achieve an orderly end to the conflict", he said.
Labour's associate foreign affairs spokesperson Grant Robertson today called for a ceasefire and said "this is a humanitarian crisis and both sides need to cease fighting".
"There is an urgent need for true safe havens to be established and for international relief agencies to be able to enter them to deliver basic food and medical supplies."
The Government should make sure New Zealand's voice is heard on the issue and "we play whatever part we can in averting the emerging humanitarian disaster in Sri Lanka", Mr Robertson said.
A spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully said the Government has been calling for both sides to stop their activities for "some time".
He said as the fighting intensified in a smaller area civilians were becoming more and more affected.
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