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Lankan govt, LTTE should end hostilities, says US
Lalit K Jha in Washington
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February 24, 2009 10:31 IST

Concerned over the 'hostilities' towards civilians in the conflict-hit northern part of Sri Lanka [Images], the United States has asked the island government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to hold negotiations to end the fighting.

"We want the government and the LTTE [Images] to discuss ways to end the hostilities," said Robert Wood, acting spokesman of the State Department. He said one of their primary concerns is the humanitarian situation in the country.

"We're worried about the internally displaced persons, what happens to them, we are worried about civilians that are caught up in the hostilities that are going on," Wood said.

When asked if the US would like to have a negotiated solution to the Lankan crisis, Wood said, "Eventually, you need to have a political framework that deals with some of the questions that are being put forth by various parties in the country."

"We just want to see, again, an end to hostilities. We want to see civilians protected as best they can be protected in this conflict. We want to be able to deal effectively with the humanitarian situation that we're very concerned about," he said.

Both the US Ambassador [Images] to Sri Lanka and the South Asia Bureau in the State Department are communicating with the government of Sri Lanka in this regard, Wood added

"There are other parties in the international community that are engaged in trying to do this," he added.

When asked if the US would like to negotiate between Sri Lanka and the LTTE, Wood said, "As far as I know, we have not been asked to do that. We will do what we can to support efforts to end the conflict. But in the end, the two sides have got to, as I said, discuss ways of ending this conflict and bring a cessation to hostilities."

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