Britain seeks ‘political process’ to end Sri Lanka bloodshed

Feb 7, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s former colonial ruler Britain has called for a “political process” to end Sri Lanka’s spiralling violence and condemned the latest wave of bombings against civilians. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a statement released here said that the Sri Lankan government’s unilateral withdrawal from a ceasefire with separatist rebels did not mean both parties should stop protecting civilians.

Scores of innocent people have been killed since the government pulled out of an already moribund Norwegian-arranged ceasefire with Tamil Tiger guerrillas last month.

“Violence can never provide an answer to Sri Lanka’s problems,” Miliband said. “A sustainable solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict can only emerge through a just political process involving all communities.”

Sri Lanka’s government has said it wants to crush Tiger guerrillas by mid-year after making territorial gains in the east of the island last year and confining the rebels to their de facto mini-state in the island’s north.

Fourteen bus passengers were killed in a roadside bomb attack on Monday as the country marked its 60th anniversary of independence.

“I call for an immediate end to practi