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Terror In Sri Lanka


Nearly one-hundred people have died in renewed violence in Sri Lanka in recent days. At least sixty civilians, including fifteen children, were killed in a bomb attack on a crowded bus in Kabithigollewa. Over seventy others were wounded.

In a written statement, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "This vicious attack bears all the hallmarks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It is a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement that the Tamil Tigers claim to uphold."

The attack followed the collapse of peace talks in Norway, where Tamil Tiger representatives refused to meet with Sri Lankan government officials.

More than sixty-thousand people have been killed since the Tamil Tigers began their insurgency in 1983. About one-million others have been displaced. Thousands of refugees have fled to India in recent weeks to escape the upsurge in violence.

Thyagarajan is a grocer from the village of Vavuniya. An ethnic Tamil, he says he is afraid to return to his home. "We fear another war between the rebels and the army." Pushparaj, another Tamil refugee, says, "the peace talks are supposed to be on, but looting and killing are rampant in our area."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher says the Tamil Tigers must stop the terror:

"The fact is this is a terrorist group that needs to be treated accordingly. That does not mean one has to close the door on peace. But it does mean that, as we try to leave the door open to peace, you have to walk through that door without a suicide bomb on your belt."

State Department spokesman McCormack says, "the United States calls for an end to the violence that is causing so much suffering for the people of Sri Lanka and resumption of negotiations to bring peace to the country. The Tamil Tigers," says Mr. McCormack, "must renounce terror and enter into direct negotiations with the Sri Lankan government."

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

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