US blames LTTE for Lanka bus attack
But most of the other nations refrained from pointing an accusing finger at the LTTE, reports PK Balachandran.india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 12:35 IST
In its reactions to the massacre of 64 people, including many children, at Kebetigollawa in north central Sri Lanka on Thursday, the international community, has generally refrained from pointing an accusing finger at the LTTE.
Only the US has named the LTTE.
Most countries, which have reacted, including India, have unequivocally condemned the killing but did not lay the blame at the door of the LTTE, as the US and Sri Lanka had done.
The US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "The "vicious act has 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."
Asking for a general halt to the violence, the US spokesman said: "The Tamil Tigers must renounce terror and enter into direct negotiations with the Sri Lankan government."
Norway, which is facilitating the peace process in Sri Lanka, did not name any party but said that Thursday attack was "gruesome" and had brought the violence in the island to a "new level".
"This is the bloodiest attack on civilians since the parties to the peace process in Sri Lanka signed the ceasefire agreement in 2002," remarked Erik Solheim, Cabinet minister and the highest functionary in the Norwegian government dealing with the peace process in Sri Lanka.
"We are witnessing a spiral of worsening violence which is bringing Sri Lanka towards full civil war. Norway requests an immediate halt to all violence in Sri Lanka," Solheim said.
According to the Norwegian government, between December 2005 to now, 519 people have been killed in Sri Lanka in the ethnic conflict. These include Tamils, Sinhalas and Muslims, it points out.
Switzerland is set to play an important role in the Sri Lankan peace process since the European Union (EU) has alienated itself from one of the parties, namely the LTTE, by banning it.
In a statement on Thursday, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs said that Thursday's massacre had "plunged the whole region into mourning and endangers the ceasefire."
But refraining from pointing an accusing finger at any one, the statement said that Switzerland hoped that the "perpetrators of the act will be rapidly identified and brought to justice."
Calling for an end to all violence in Sri Lanka, the Swiss government said that it "deplores" the fact that the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE did not meet in Oslo last week.
It said that maintaining the ceasefire was an "indispensable prerequisite" for any peace process.
Japan, which is closely involved with the Sri Lankan peace process as one of the four co-chairs of the Tokyo Donors' Conference, described the massacre as a "dastardly terrorist attack particularly targeting innocent common people."
This could never be accepted by the international community, Japan's Ambassador Akio Suda said.
First Published: Jun 16, 2006 12:35 IST