Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Britain, France FMs not convincing enough for Sri Lanka

The Foreign Ministers of Britain and France who visited the island today (Apr 29) and had talks with top government officials said they had failed to persuade Sri Lanka to end its offensive against the LTTE and allow aid for civilians in the No Fire Zone.

“We tried very hard -- we insisted and we insisted -- but it is up to our friends to allow it or not,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a news conference after talks with the Sri Lankan government.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also said the talks had ended without a breakthrough. He said that international calls for a ceasefire were “only to save civilians” and not to help the Tamil Tigers.

“Now is the time for the fighting to stop,” Miliband said. “Sri Lanka’s military advances have been spectacular, but winning the peace is as vital as winning the war,” Mr. Miliband said.

Sri Lanka’s leaders say they are on the verg of victory after 37 years of violence, with the Tamil Tigers cornered and outnumbered in a small strip of coastal area in the northeast of the island. Government officials have argued that any truce would only allow the Tigers to regroup, as has happened several times before.

(Ada Derana)