February 12 (LBO) – A UK minister has called for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka and said a continuing violence will hold back development and tarnish the country’s image, ahead of a visit to the island. “Today’s British government has no greater wish for Sri Lanka than that it should find a peaceful solution to its conflict,” Kim Howells, UK’s Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said in a statement.
“On the other hand, if things continue as they are the current escalation of the conflict and its impact will hold back Sri Lanka’s development, corrode the quality of its democracy and tarnish its image in the international arena.”
After arriving in the island, Howells is due to travel to eastern Sri Lanka on February 13, where he will meet officials, representatives of local communities and visit projects funded by the British government, the UK High Commission said.
On February 14, he will hold a series of meetings in Colombo with government, diplomatic and civil society representatives.
Howells says his government is ready to share with Sri Lanka, the experience of Northern Ireland which is at peace after a 30-year conflict.
“We learned the hard way that secur