Sri Lanka
US backs Sri Lanka's action against terrorism
Mar 10, 2007 - 12:40:11 PM

Colombo, March 10 - A top US official says Washington will fully back Sri Lanka's battle against terrorism but said the island's separatist conflict needs to be resolved politically, the Daily News reported Saturday.

Visiting US official Steven Mann said Washington was fully appreciative of the fact that the Sri Lankan government had a difficult task in fighting terrorism while pursuing a political solution to the dragging conflict.

'It is a difficult task,' Mann told reporters Friday evening after a lengthy meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, where he was briefed on the government's strategy in dealing with the conflict.

The principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia arrived here Friday for a two-day visit to discuss the Norwegian-backed peace process, human rights issues and access to conflict areas in the northeast.

Mann said the US, while supporting the government's action against terrorism, would urge Sri Lankans to resolve the conflict through peaceful means.

The government has recorded a series of military victories against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - since mid-last year.

The government has said that that rebels were being targeted to curb their firepower so as to deny the LTTE from carrying out terror attacks against government troops.

However, the international community led by the US has been urging the government to seek a negotiated political settlement to the conflict that had claimed over 67,000 lives since 1983.

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