Sri Lanka seeks international help to resume peace process

Sri Lanka seeks international help to resume peace process
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First Published: Sat, Mar 17 2007. 06 56 AM IST
Updated: Sat, Mar 17 2007. 06 56 AM IST
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on 16 March 2007 sought international help to prod Tamil Tiger rebels to return to the negotiating table.
“The international community should once again seek to prevail upon the LTTE to return to the negotiations and to negotiate in good faith,” he said during a visit to Washington, where he held talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior government officials.
Direct peace negotiations between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam stalled in October 2006 and fighting has intensified despite the two sides agreeing to a Norwegian-brokered truce in 2002.
More than 4,000 people have been killed in fighting since December 2005.
Bogollagama urged the international community to make clear to LTTE rebels that they should respond “in a time bound fashion with specific targets” if they wanted to return to talks.
“Above all they must join the democratic political mainstream. After all there are several militant groups that have successfully made this transition,” he said.
If the Tamil Tigers “cannot be de-clawed,” he said, the international community should commit themselves to work with Tamil democratic parties to further the interests of the Tamil community.
The LTTE has been fighting for about three decades for an independent state for the minority Tamil community in the northeast of the island nation.
Rice and Bogollagama discused human rights and humanitarian conditions in Sri Lanka as well as the peace process, State Department spokeswoman Nancy Beck told AFP.
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First Published: Sat, Mar 17 2007. 06 56 AM IST
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