US asks Sri Lanka, LTTE to discuss ways to end hostilities

Concerned over the 'hostilities' towards civilians in the conflict-hit northern part of Sri Lanka, the United States has asked the SL Govt and the LTTE to hold negotiations to end the fightings.
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Updated on Feb 24, 2009 03:05 PM IST
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PTI | By, Washington

Concerned over the "hostilities" towards civilians in the conflict-hit northern part of Sri Lanka, the United States has asked the island government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to hold negotiations to end the fightings.

"We want the government and the LTTE discuss ways to end the hostilities," said Robert Wood, Acting Spokesman of the State Department.

He said one of their primary concerns is the humanitarian situation. "We're worried about IDPs (internally displaced persons), what happens to them, we are worried about civilians that are caught up in the hostilities that are going on," Wood said.

When asked if the US would like to have a negotiated solution and it does not think that this should end militarily, Wood said: "Eventually you need to have a political framework that deals with some of the questions that are being put forth by various parties in the country."

"We just want to see, again, an end to hostilities. We want to see civilians protected as best they can be protected in this conflict. We want to be able to deal effectively with the humanitarian situation that we're very concerned about," He said.

Asked if the US is calling for a ceasefire, he reiterated the US wants an end to the hostilities.

"Well, look, again, we're getting ahead of the game here.

What we're trying to do with this, as I said first off, is to deal with the concerns we have about IDPs and the humanitarian situation. That's our foremost objective, to deal with those issues."

He said: "We obviously want to see an end to that conflict and for that to happen, there has to be a discussion of the issues that are – you know, that are coming between the two sides."

Both the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the South Asia Bureau in the State Department are communicating with the government of Sri Lanka in this regard. "There are other parties in the international community that are engaged in trying to do this," he added.

When asked if the US would like to end negotiate between Sri Lanka and LTTE, Wood said: "As far as I know, we have not been asked to do that. This is something – there is a process that has been put forward to try to help end this conflict.

We will do what we can to support efforts to end the conflict. But in the end, the two sides have got to, as I said, discuss ways of ending this conflict and bring a cessation to hostilities."

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