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Terror In Sri Lanka

The government of Sri Lanka has extended the state of emergency it declared following the assassination of Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. The foreign minister was shot to death at his home in Colombo. Sri Lankan authorities blame the murder on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers terrorist group. The Tamil Tigers deny responsibility for the killing.

Founded in 1976, the Tamil Tigers began its insurgency against the Sri Lankan government in 1983. More than sixty-thousand people have been killed and about one-million others displaced by the conflict. The insurgents were fighting for an independent Tamil state. After agreeing to a ceasefire in 2002, the Tamil Tigers called for regional autonomy. Numerous violations of the ceasefire have been reported, most of them committed by the Tamil Tigers. Factional fighting within the group has killed more than one-hundred people.

Sri Lankan government spokesman Nimal Siripala De Silva says that despite the assassination of foreign minister Kadirgamar, the government remains committed to negotiations:

“Of course, this is a blow to the peace process, but. . . .the path for peace is not so easy as we think. But the determination of the government to achieve peace is not shattered by these barbaric acts.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sri Lankan Foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar had “dedicated his life to the search for peace and for a better life for the Sri Lankan people.” “It is the great hope of the United States,” said Secretary Rice, “that out of this tragedy people will once again commit themselves to the path to peace.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.