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US renews appeal to Sri Lanka and tiger rebels to end hostilities

[New Kerala, Saturday, 18 April 2009 08:00 No Comment]

The Obama Administration renewed its appeal to the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil tigers to cease attacks on each other even as acknowledging the complex situation that obtains in the island nation.

”We are encouraging both the government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to cease violence, cease attacks. We’re very concerned about the civilian population in Tamil areas,” State Department’s acting Spokesman Robert Wood said, in reply to a question, today.

He said, ”It’s a concern not only of the United States but of a number of countries around the world. It’s not an easy situation.

We’ve been working diplomatically with others to try to bring about an end to the violence, but we haven’t achieved that yet. But we’re still working very hard.” Spokesman Wood said the United States was appealing to both sides to limit any kind of danger to civilians. ”And we’ll just have to keep working the issue. It is of big concern to us, and the Secretary [of State Hillary Clinton] has spoken to this issue quite a bit.” ”And we’ll just continue our diplomatic efforts, and call on others to use whatever leverage they have, on both sides, to use that leverage,” he said.

In reply to another question, Wood said ”there are efforts at the United Nations to try to do what that body can to, you know, end the violence in Sri Lanka. But it’s not going to be easy. You know, both sides are deeply dug in in their positions, and the only thing we can do is to try to work diplomatically and convince the two sides to refrain from further violence.” On Thursday also, the State Department had issued a written statement, urging both ”to immediately halt fighting in the country’s northeast to allow trapped civilians to escape. It warned civilian deaths would stain any potential peace accord.”

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