Foreign bid to pull Sri Lanka from war amid killings

May 17, 2006 (AFP) – The United States is leading international efforts to halt Sri Lanka’s slide back to war, diplomats and officials said Wednesday as four more people died in fresh violence. A US State Department official left here Tuesday, urging the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume talks suspended in April 2003 and stop violence that has claimed over 200 lives since early April.

But a day after the visit three policemen were killed in two landmine attacks while a civilian was shot dead in the northeast, the military said.

“The trend lines are discouraging in terms of the increasing provocations by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), the fact that killings are increasing,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Camp said at the end of his two-day visit.

“All of these suggest Sri Lanka is not on the way back to a lasting ceasefire,” he said.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, came on for criticism from Amnesty International for a spate of killings.

“Regardless of who is responsible for the attacks, the Sri Lankan government has obligations under international law to take steps to prevent such killings,” the London-based righ