Sri Lanka conflict end in sight but dangers ahead, says US

Sept 23, 2007 (LBO) – Recent military victories over Tamil Tigers, especially in Sri Lanka’s east, offer a chance to end the conflict but only if minorities can be convinced of a bright future in the island, the US envoy has said. . “A solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict is in reach,” US Ambassador Robert Blake said. “But it will require Sri Lanka’s government and parties to work together to put the national interest first.”

The United States stands ready to assist in any way it can, he told a seminar on “Sri Lanka: the Way Forward” organized by the Fullbright Association.

The government of Sri Lanka has achieved some important victories in the last several months.

“The expulsion of the LTTE from the east and the recent sinking of several LTTE ships carrying arms and other provisions mark important military successes,” Blake said.

“But these tactical successes should not tempt the government to re-consider whether Sri Lanka’s conflict can be won by military means. It cannot.”

While the government must continue to defend the nation against terrorist attacks, the way forward lies in continuing to lay the basis for a negotiated settlement that will meet the aspirations of all of Sri Lanka’s communities: Tam