US asks Sri Lanka to pursue ‘healing process’

WASHINGTON, April 21, 2010 (AFP) – The United States called on Sri Lanka’s new government Wednesday to use its mandate to pursue a “healing process” as the island recovers from decades of war. Sri Lanka’s new parliament is set to convene Thursday after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s allies won just short of a sweeping two-thirds majority.

US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the government appeared to enjoy a “significant mandate” from the election.

“The government should use that mandate to help continue the healing process within Sri Lankan society, to bring all elements to help Sri Lanka get past the recent conflict and move forward together,” Crowley told reporters.

Sri Lanka’s military last year killed the leadership of the Tamil Tiger rebels, ending decades of ethnic bloodshed that according to the United Nations claimed up to 100,000 lives.

Political opponents and international human rights groups have accused Rajapakse of violating human rights during the final military campaign and of suppressing dissent since his resounding re-election.

Rajapakse’s opponent in the presidential election, former army chief Sarath Fonseka, was placed under