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Sri Lankan Hostilities

The U.S., the European Union, Japan, and Norway are calling on the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Tamil Tigers, "to cease hostilities immediately and return to the negotiating table." The four are co-chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference. They are also asking for independent and international investigations of human rights abuse allegations in Sri Lanka.

The Tokyo Donor Conference was held in June 2003 with the participation of fifty-one countries and twenty-two international organizations. The goal was to provide support for the Sri Lankan peace process. Conference participants pledged more than four billion dollars in assistance to be used in Sri Lanka to build infrastructure, schools, and help meet other development needs.

Heavy fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers resumed in recent weeks despite a cease-fire negotiated in 2002. 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 more have now been displaced by the latest upsurge in violence.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher, recently visited Sri Lanka. He said the U.S. supports the democratically elected Sri Lankan government and condemns the Tamil Tigers for, "scores of unprovoked attacks on civilians and military personnel, [and] assassinations and suicide operations."

Mr. Boucher also said that, “we urge the LTTE and the government to get back to the negotiating table and to create the climate for de-escalation of the violence and solution of the problems. As one of the co-chairs, the United States will do all we can to support that effort.“

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