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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 75

Richard Boucher expressed US belief in a negotiated settlement in Sri Lanka

Colombo, 02 June, ( United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher was yesterday equally critical of both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as well as the Government of Sri Lanka.

Richard Boucher was speaking after a meeting with the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapakse, and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on a brief stop-over in the capital Colombo.

Boucher said: "The LTTE must renounce terror in word and deed, stop the violence and recognize that the only solution to the conflict is a political one."

He was also critical about the Government of Sri Lanka. “There are more we except from a democratically elected Government", Boucher said. "Our expectations have not been fully satisfied on the Government side either," he added.

Richard Boucher yesterday asserted his country's firm belief in the LTTE's share in the recent upsurge of violence and the near breakdown of the Ceasefire Agreement and urged the Tigers to renounce violence in deed, as well as in word.

"They (LTTE) need to focus their vision on how to achieve their legitimate goals through a legitimate process of negotiation. If Tigers give up terrorism, the US will be able to consider dealing with them," Boucher added.

He said the US hails ban on the LTTE and added that his country was working together with other countries to isolate the LTTE economically and militarily.

"We are talking to other Governments trying to prevent the flow of arms and weapons. We have continuing multilateral talks with individual Governments on preventing the LTTE's weapon acquirement," he added.

He also urged the Government to be genuine in its Geneva pledges and to disarm different militant groups allegedly cooperating with the Security Forces and to respect fully the rights and aspirations of all its citizens.

Richard Baucher said that the USA is happy to assist the government of Sri Lanka on military matters.

He pointed out clearly the stand of the American Government, “assistance to the Government was not meant to encourage the Government to tread the path of war.”

He expressed US belief in a negotiated settlement that satisfies the legitimate grievances of all the communities in the country. Boucher stressed that it was up to the Government and the LTTE to take the process forward. "Peace process does not move forward with the Co-Chairs reaction alone," he said.

- Asian Tribune -

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