US concerned over violence flare-up in Sri Lanka, seeks peace talks

WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has voiced concern over a flare-up of violence in Sri Lanka, and hopes Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels will resume talks to reinforce their fragile truce, the State Department said. WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has voiced concern over a flare-up of violence in Sri Lanka, and hopes Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels will resume talks to reinforce their fragile truce, the State Department said. Washington plans to dispatch a senior official to the troubled tropical Indian Ocean island soon to discuss the conflict, the department said Friday.

Rice “expressed concern over the recent upsurge in violence in northern and eastern Sri Lanka” during talks with visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Thursday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

In the latest violence, at least five Sri Lankan sailors were killed and 10 others were missing and presumed dead early Saturday following the sinking of a navy gunboat in a suspected suicide bombing.

The attack was the first sinking of a high-powered naval gunboat since a Norwegian-brokered truce between Colombo and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTT