Article published on the 2009-04-28 Latest update 2009-04-28 15:36 TU
Civilians, who in recently fled the area held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, stand in line to receive food and water at a refugee camp in northern Sri Lanka, 28 April 2009.
Eyewitnesses in the Tamil-held areas reported a handful of civilian deaths, although reports were unverified because the government has banned journalists and aid workers from the war zone.
Tamil sources blame the government for larger numbers of casualties. A parliamentarian representing the Tamil National Alliance, Mavai Senadhirajha, told RFI that he learned Monday that 292 people died in the war zone. "That the international community -- the UN -- give protection: that is our request," he said.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner were due to visit Colombo on Wednesday to try to negotiate an end to the conflict. The Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, also intended to go but Sri Lanka denied him a visa. The European Union described this decision as a "grave mistake" which would affect Sri Lanka's relationship with Europe.
The Sri Lankan government says it will not agree to a truce because it is on the verge of defeating the Tamil rebels, and does not wish to give them a chance to regroup.
Government forces on Tuesday morning took over a line of rebel fortifications around the leftover Tamil territory along Sri Lanka's northeast coast.
It amounts to under 10 kilometers. However, international organisations say that tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the war zone.
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