EU called on Sri Lankan to resolve problems politically

May 20th, 2009 - 4:01 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, May 20 (IANS) With Sri Lanka formally annoucing the defeat of Tamil Tigers Tuesday, the European Union called on Colombo to do all in its capacity to reach a sustainable political settlement that would meet the aspiration of all communities in the country.
“This is essential for the future prosperity and long term development of the island,” Robert Evans, the head of the South Asia delegation in the 27-nation bloc’s parliament, said in a statement in Brussels.

The Sri Lankan government Saturday announced the final defeat of the separatist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) rebels after more than 20 years of conflict which has left tens of thousands dead or forced them to flee their homes.

On Tuesday, Rajapaksa formally announced the LTTE had been defeated and the country was free of terrorists. The government also released the pictures of battered rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, who according to the army, was shot dead while trying to flee the battleground along with some of his confidants Monday.

Evans, a British MEP, criticised both the LTTE and Sri Lankan troops for thier roles in the killings of thousands of civilians in the bloody conflict, the EuAsiaNews reported.

“The behaviour of both sides cannot be excused. The LTTE has allegedly held its own people hostage against the government troops which may have resulted in more casualties among those it claimed to liberate. But the government’s brutal conduct against its northern populations has been all the more questionable,” said Evans.

He noted that the EU is one of the main donors in Sri Lanka.

“We will make aid conditional on the government’s willingness to find a political solution to the conflict, based on consent, equality and the rule of law. In particular, we believe that respect of minority rights and political autonomy for the Tamil population within the appropriate legal and constitutional framework is an essential element of a peaceful solution,” the statement added.

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