Sri Lanka ‘not worried’ by US peace envoy call

Feb 8, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Thursday said it was not ‘unduly worried’ over a proposal to US President George W. Bush by American lawmakers to appoint a special envoy to help bring peace to the embattled Indian Ocean island. Sri Lanka cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Anura Yapa said Colombo believed the US would continue to support its fight to neutralise Tamil Tiger rebels who have been banned in the US since 1997.

“We are not unduly worried about the call made by (38) US congressmen,” Yapa told reporters here.

“There had been similar suggestions in the past too, and we are confident that Washington will continue to support our stance.”

The legislators from the US House of Representatives said in a letter to Bush last week they were troubled by renewed violence and a rising number of deaths, as well as a big increase in unsolved kidnappings across Sri Lanka.

The lawmakers asked Bush to appoint an envoy with access to the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a mandate to increase monitoring of human rights violations.

Sri Lankan troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have traded attacks with nearly 4,000 people killed in the past year, despite a Norwegian-backed F