June 11, 2007 (AFP) – Britain Monday asked its former colony Sri Lanka to end its military campaign and resume peace talks with separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas. “The situation in Sri Lanka looks darker now than my last visit in February, where there were many hopes of an all-party political solution that would create a basis for future talks. That looks further away now,” Howells told reporters.
Howells said he shared his concerns with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse at the start of his two-day visit to reinforce Britain’s support for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.
“I told President Rajapakse that Britain stands ready to offer its skills in peace building…. I told him I know of no conflict that was resolved through military means.”
The minister’s concerns came as senior defence officials said Sri Lanka’s latest military campaign against the Tiger rebels could go on for another three years and experts warned the conflict was taking its toll on the economy.
“At the end of the day, you need a political solution to meet the aspirations of the Tamil people,” Howells said, referring to Sri Lanka’s 35-year-old ethnic conflict, whic