The Rajapaksa Government needs to take additional steps to win lasting peace in Sri Lanka following the recent defeat of the LTTE, ending nearly three decades of civil war in the country, a top Obama Administration official has said.
The Sri Lankans achieved an important victory by defeating the LTTE in the north. As a result of that, the LTTE no longer controls any territory whatsoever in Sri Lanka, which is an important, step forward, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
"Now Sri Lanka has to take additional steps to really win the peace, and to ensure a lasting peace, to ensure reconciliation," said Blake, who till recently was the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
"So we are really focused on two different parts of that: First, is the rapid resettlement of the almost 300,000 internally displaced persons who are in the camps in and around Vavuniya; and then secondly, to encourage the government to undertake a real political reconciliation programme," Blake said.
The reconciliation programme, he said, would have several elements. "First, to undertake local elections and provincial council elections so that there can be an elected government in the north for the people of the northern region. They haven't had elected government for the entire time of the LTTE rule," he said.