US asks Sri Lanka to share power with Tamils, Sinhalese

May 20th, 2009 - 11:03 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 20 (IANS) Welcoming the cessation of fighting in Sri Lanka, the US has asked Colombo “to heal the wounds of the conflict” by working out new power sharing arrangements with the Tamils, Sinhalese, and all other Sri Lankans.

“To truly defeat terrorism, the government of Sri Lanka needs to begin and work toward building a democratic, prosperous, tolerant and united Sri Lanka and work toward justice and reconciliation for both sides,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Tuesday.

“A lasting peace in Sri Lanka depends on Sinhalese, Tamils and all other Sri Lankans working together to achieve new power sharing arrangements that safeguard and promote the rights of all Sri Lankans,” he said in a statement.

The US remains deeply concerned for the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) uprooted by the recent fighting with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Kelly said.

The 26-year-old conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels has cost tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil lives, uprooted countless Sri Lankans from their homes, left thousands maimed or wounded, and has brutally divided the nation.

The US, he said, especially recognised the tremendous loss of life and hardship endured by civilians in northern Sri Lanka during the past weeks and months, and are relieved that this loss of life has ended.

He urged the government to allow humanitarian access to the camps and to work hand in hand with the UN, ICRC, and NGOs to ensure all IDPs are accorded rights and care meeting the highest international standards.

The US was prepared to work with the government to provide for the basic needs of all of its citizens, and abide by its commitment to return the majority of IDPs to their homes by the end of this year, Kelly said.

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