Sri Lanka vows to crack down on killings to save peace bid

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

May 11, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has vowed tough action to stem a wave of killings following the latest Japanese bid to save faltering peace efforts, diplomats and government officials said Thursday. The Sri Lankan government assured Japan’s special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi that it will halt excesses and end the “culture of impunity,” a government official involved in the peace process said.

He said Colombo also impressed on Akashi that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had escalated attacks against troops as well as civilians in the past two months, threatening a tenuous truce.

The government’s chief peace negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva told parliament Wednesday that Colombo “vehemently condemned” the recent spate of killings of civilians.

“The government considers as a curse the culture of impunity that this country has been witnessing at various dark periods since the 70s,” de Silva said.

“As a democracy and a mature society we will not tolerate this any longer.”

Akashi left Sri Lanka on Wednesday following assurances from Colombo and was to hold talks Thursday on the peace process with Indian officials in New Delhi.

Japan as well as Sri Lanka’s other key i