Sri Lankan FM urges donors to pressure Tamil rebels

TOKYO, May 18, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera called Thursday on donor countries to raise pressure on the Tamil Tigers to resume talks and to curb the rebels’ fund-raising overseas. Samaraweera was in Tokyo ahead of a May 30 meeting here of Sri Lanka’s key financial backers, which comes as killings mount on the island despite a four-year-old ceasefire.

“We are hoping that the donors will come up with the formula where we could get the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) back to the negotiation table at the earliest,” the Sri Lankan foreign minister told AFP.

“I hope they will be able to use whatever influence they may have to ensure that the LTTE will immediately stop violence, stop attacks on civilians, stop suicide bombings and come back to the table,” he said.

“We are just hoping that the co-chairs will put a little more pressure on them to come back to talk to us.”

Violence between the government and the rebels has surged in the past month with over 200 people killed.

More than 60,000 people have died in the ethnic conflict since 1972.

Samaraweera also urged the United States and European countries to take measures to prevent the LTTE from collecting c