French, British ministers urge Sri Lanka truce

The French and British foreign ministers called for a truce in Sri Lanka's civil war, saying that safeguarding civilians was as crucial as defeating the rebels in bringing peace to this troubled nation. The visit Wednesday by Bernard Kouchner and David Miliband was the highest-level trip here by European officials since the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and underscored the growing international concern for the tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils stuck in the war zone. "Now is the time for the fighting to stop," Miliband told reporters in Colombo. "Protection of civilians is absolutely paramount in our minds." Miliband and Kouchner later traveled to displacement camps overwhelmed by an influx of an estimated 120,000 war refugees in the past 10 days in the north.