Thursday, May 11, 2006

Japanese envoy calls for defusing tension in Sri Lanka

UPDATED: 20:20, May 10, 2006

Japanese peace envoy on Sri Lanka's fragile peace process Yasushi Akashi said Wednesday that the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels should de-escalate the current armed conflict to make way for negotiations.
Akashi, a former UN Under Secretary, said at the end of his four-day visit that the present cycle of violence in the island's north and east was the worst since he assumed the role of the special envoy in 2002.
More than 150 people have been killed since the second week of April in the troubled north and east and the LTTE rebels have been accused of an attempt to assassinate Sri Lankan Army chief Sarath Fonseka late last month.
Akashi said the LTTE had raised with him alleged extra-judicial killings mainly in the northern Jaffna district perpetrated by the government troops.
The government in response had told him that the government does not condone such killings and action will be taken to arrest the culprits.
The rebels had wanted proof of government's compliance of agreements reached in Geneva in February to end violence against the LTTE.

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