US asks Sri Lanka to focus on reconciliation, power sharingFebruary 23rd, 2010 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 23 (IANS) With the end of the war with Tamil Tigers, the US wants Sri Lanka to quickly complete resettlement of displaced people, pursue national reconciliation and power sharing and deal with the issue of possible war crimes.
“In our view I think one of the highest priorities now is first, to complete the resettlement of the internally displaced people,” Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs told BBC World News Monday, noting about 180,000 have been sent back from the camps, but approximately 100,000 still remain.
“I think it’s important for them to be allowed to return to their homes and villages in the north as quickly as possible,” he said when asked about his view on the respect now being shown for the Tamil minority eight months after the end of the war.
“Secondly, I think it’s important for the government to pursue as quickly as possible this process of national reconciliation and power sharing, particularly with the north,” Blake added.
“Then as part of that national reconciliation process, to begin a process of accountability for many of the human rights abuses that may have occurred during that war.”
“And third, to again talk about the larger issue of possible war crimes that may have occurred. Again, that will be an important part of the larger reconciliation piece.”
Asked about the treatment meted out to defeated opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, Blake said: “So far I think it has been less than we might have hoped for, but we’ve certainly encouraged the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that he is charged promptly… and that everything is handled in accordance with Sri Lankan law as they move forward.”
Blake said he could not comment on the charges against Fonseka as “we haven’ t yet seen what the charges are”. But “we’ve encouraged the government to make public as quickly as possible what those charges are.
“But I think that Sri Lankans themselves have spoken about the manner in which General Fonseka was arrested. Several monks, for example, several Buddhist monks have noted that this was handled in a very unprofessional and undignified way.”
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Tags: arun kumar, asian affairs, assistant secretary, bbc, bbc world, bbc world news, central asian, eight months, fonseka, government of sri lanka, human rights abuses, national reconciliation, presidential candidate, priorities, resettlement, secretary of state, sri lankan law, tamil minority, tamil tigers, war crimes