US congressmen ask Bush to appoint peace envoy for Sri Lanka

WASHINGTON, Feb 5, 2007 (AFP) – A group of 38 US lawmakers have asked President George W. Bush to appoint a special envoy to help bring about peace in conflict-ridden Sri Lanka. The legislators from the House of Representatives said in a letter to Bush that they were troubled by renewed violence and a rising number of deaths as well as a big increase in unsolved kidnappings across Sri Lanka.

“It is time for the United States to provide global leadership to help advance peace for the people of Sri Lanka,” they said, according to a copy of the letter obtained by AFP from the office of New Jersey Democratic Representative Rush Holt, who initiated the move.

In the letter sent to the White House last week, the lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle said the special envoy should be a high-level official with access to Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a “clear” mandate to increase monitoring of human rights violations.

“We are writing to urge you to appoint a special envoy for Sri Lanka because we are deeply troubled by the ever-worsening situation on the ground there,” they said.

“The renewed violence and rising death toll in Sri Lanka have