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Mediators ask Lanka govt, LTTE to resume talks
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington, DC | November 22, 2006 09:39 IST
Major donors engaged in efforts to end Sri Lanka's civil war asked the government and the Tamil tiger rebels to desist from violence and return to negotiations immediately.
They also praised India's role in the developments in the island nation.
"All of us are united in asking the Government of Sri Lanka as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to cease and desist from violence, to affect a ceasefire and to return to the negotiations," US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said at the end of the conference on Tuesday.
"We also support very, very much what Mr Solheim, the Norwegian government, have been doing to try to mediate, try to bring these parties together and to try to find a solution that will lead to lasting peace in Sri Lanka itself," he said.
The conference is participated by the US, EU, Japan and Norway.
Praising the role of India in the developments in the island nation, Burns said: "I should also note that we met with the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Government of India, Mr [Raminder Singh] Jassal, just now following our meeting to brief him on the results of the meeting and also to seek the views and support of the Indian government.
"And we're very grateful for the role that India's playing, a responsible role, also to fulfill this mandated peace."
Expressing concern over rising violence, the participants condemned the government and the rebels alike for alleged human rights violations.
"We condemn the continued and systematic ceasefire violations by the Government of Sri Lanka as well as by the LTTE. We call upon both sides to seize this opportunity, which we believe to be a historic opportunity created by the 2002 ceasefire agreement to resolve the country's conflict peacefully," Burns said reading out a prepared note of the Conference.
"The Co-Chairs particularly condemn the LTTE for initiating hostilities from heavily populated areas and the Government of Sri Lanka for firing into such vulnerable areas and killing and wounding innocent civilians. The Co-Chairs call on both sides to respect international humanitarian law and to set aside demilitarised zones to protect internally displaced persons" he added.
Burns, as also other participants, ruled out walking away from the peace process or for that matter setting a specific timeline.
"We can't simply give up because the work is hard. It's our responsibility as governments and institutions that have some influence in the country to use that influence on a responsible basis" Burns said.