US calls for talk as fighting intensifies in Sri Lanka

The United States has called on the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to return to talks, saying war was not an option, even as fighting intensified on the ground.

œThe people of Sri Lanka need and deserve peace. There is no other way forward than through a return to negotiations.

The statement came as fresh fighting erupted Friday around a waterway closed by rebels, which had since been re-opened, while military jets also targeted rebel bases.

œWe call on the LTTE to return to political negotiations and to renounce terrorism, the embassy said in statement.

œAt the same time, we look to the Government of Sri Lanka to address the legitimate grievances of Tamil-speaking people and to respond to incidents of violence against civilians with prompt, independent investigations.

Fighting in the Northeastern Trincomalee district had left thousands of people homeless, and civilian deaths including the killing of 17 aid workers of a French charity which grabbed headlines.

œWithout political commitment and a spirit of compromise between both parties, there will be no end to the conflict, the statement added.

œThere is