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Sri Lanka Fighting

In a speech, Velupillai Prabhakaran, head of the designated Foreign Terrorist Organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, said that he considers the 2002 cease-fire agreement with the government of Sri Lanka to be defunct. He also said that the “uncompromising stance of Sinhala chauvinism” left the Tigers no choice but to resume the struggle for an independent state.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack offered this comment:

"The 2002 ceasefire agreement is the foundation on which both the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers can find mutual understanding and build sustainable peace. We condemn the Tamil Tigers for fueling violence and hostility. Violence and terrorism do nothing to advance the resolution of the conflict and we're pressing both sides -- the government as well as the Tigers -- to honor the ceasefire agreement and return to a dialogue that will move the nation toward peace."

Since the insurgency began in 1983 more than sixty-thousand Sri Lankans have been killed. About one-million others have been displaced. In 2002, the U.S., the European Union, Japan, and Norway co-chaired the Tokyo Donors' Conference. Conference participants, including representatives from fifty-one countries and twenty-two international organizations, pledged more than four billion dollars to help build infrastructure and schools, and meet other development needs. The Co-Chairs continue to meet, most recently in Brussels in September and at the U.S. Department of State on November 21, to assess the situation. In a joint statement, released at the November meeting in Washington, they condemned the ongoing violence and urged both sides to commit to sustained and substantive negotiations.

The violence in Sri Lanka had diminished following the signing and implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002, but has dramatically escalated in the past year.

The State Department continues to call on both sides to renounce violence and resume peaceful negotiations. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says, "The Tigers can choose to return to the peace process and should do so for the benefit of the Sri Lankan people."

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