Sri Lanka
US asks Sri Lanka to share power with Tamils
Jan 29, 2007 - 6:30:55 PM

Colombo, Jan 29 - The US Monday asked Sri Lanka to weave a power-sharing formula to talk to the Tamil Tigers in a bid to end the dragging ethnic conflict, saying there could be no military solution.

'We hope Sri Lanka will seize the opportunity to forge a power-sharing proposal that can form the basis for talks with the LTTE - that could finally bring an end to - conflict,' US ambassador Robert Blake told the Sri Lanka Development Forum here.

'Peace,' he said, 'would invite new investment, accelerate the return of some of Sri Lanka's best and brightest from abroad, and create a virtuous cycle of peace and prosperity.'

The US aid agency USAID, Blake said, was working to help Colombo improve democratic processes, encourage transparency, curb corruption as well as help the economy.

But no amount of development assistance could have a lasting impact 'without finding a permanent solution to the conflict that has plagued Sri Lanka for more than 25 years.

'We remain unwavering in our conviction that there can be no military solution to this terrible conflict,' the ambassador said.

He lauded President Mahinda Rajapakse's efforts to forge 'a strong legislative majority that will support a credible power sharing proposal that can form the basis for sustained, substantive negotiations between the government and LTTE'.

At the same time, he criticized attempts to curb the activities of aid agencies in the country.

He said USAID and its NGO partners were sometimes denied access to deliver assistance to people who urgently need them.

'Many NGOs have been the target of unsubstantiated allegations in the Sri Lankan peace press that have caused the staff of these NGOs to be subject to physical harassment and intimidation.

'Transparency, good governance and respect for human rights and the rule of law are essential preconditions for economic development and indispensable prerequisites for laying the basis for a lasting peace.'

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