EU calls for independent enquiry into Sri Lanka conflict

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BRUSSELS, May 18, 2009 (AFP) – The European Union on Monday called for an independent enquiry into alleged human rights violations during the conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka. EU foreign ministers, in an agreed statement, said the European Union was “appalled by the loss of innocent civilian lives as a result of the conflict and by the high numbers of casualties, including children.”

The 27-nation bloc called on the Sri Lankan government and all other involved parties “to urgently proceed towards a comprehensive political process.”

The statement, issued as EU foreign ministers held talks in Brussels, stressed the need for both sides “to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law.”

The European Union “calls for the alleged violations of these laws to be investigated through an independent inquiry. Those accountable must be brought to justice,” the statement added.

At the same time Sri Lanka’s army chief announced that all combat operations against the Tamil Tigers had ended with the last rebels defeated and all territory captured.

The separatist rebels were once one of the world’s most feared guerri