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Thursday, May 21, 2009

US welcomes Sri Lanka end of The quarter-century war


Washington, 19 May, (Asiantribune.com): The quarter-century civil war in Sri Lanka has come to a dramatic end when the army wiped out the entire leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, including the leader who founded the rebel group.

It is an ending all but unimaginable just a few years ago when the rebels ran a virtual Tamil state, controlling much of the north and east under their control.

It took a little time for the international community to respond to the event, partially because of the weekend.

The US Department of State early Monday welcomed the fact that the fighting has ended. “We are relieved that the immense loss of life and killing of innocent civilians appears to be over,” The department spokesperson Ian Kelly said, adding that this is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to turn the page on its past, and build a Sri Lanka rooted in democracy, tolerance and respect for human rights.

Earlier, the European Union called for an independent investigation to determine if human-rights laws were violated.

But Sri Lanka says its military freed more than 70,000 civilians who had been held “hostage” by the LTTE, which was widely praised. US responded that “Its time for the Sri Lanka government to engage the Tamils, Sinhalese and other Sri Lankans to create a political arrangement that promotes and protects the rights of all Sri Lankans.” Hinting that no such crisis occur again - it’s better to engage all the community in the main stream.

The international community is also putting pressure on Sri Lanka to allow access to the strip of northeastern coast where heavy fighting took place for days.

UN spokesman Gordon Weiss said that it is essential for treating any remaining wounded or ill civilians who may have been left behind.

US asked the Sri Lanka government to provide for the needs of the 280,000 civilians now living in relief camps, providing food, water and shelter and basic health care and sanitation. “as expediting their return to their homes…should be a top priority for the government,” the spokesperson concluded.

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