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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 82

US tells LTTE: stop violence or pay dearly

[b]US tells LTTE: stop violence or pay dearly[/b]

[b]Colombo, 11 January, ( [/b]US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Lunstead, issued the toughest warning ever to the LTTE on Tuesday when he told a group of business that the Tamil Tigers will have to pay dearly if they return to war.

"If the LTTE chooses to abandon peace, however, we want it to be clear, they will face a stronger, more capable and more determined Sri Lankan military," Lunstead said. "We want the cost of a return to war to be high."

Driving home the capacity of US to act firmly he said: "Through our military training and assistance programs, including efforts to help with counter-terrorism initiatives and block illegal financial transactions, we are helping to shape the ability of the Sri Lankan government to protect its people and defend its interest," he said.

Political observers consider this warning as a decisive victory for President Mahinda Rajapakse's refusal to be tempted by the provocative actions of the LTTE to retaliate by waging a war.

Emphasizing that there can be a role for the LTTE only if it returned to the peace negotiating table it left in April 2003 and "renounce terrorism in word and deed", Lunstead said: "Now you may be asking, why is the American ambassador using such blunt language at a gathering of the business elite," he said. "It is imperative that the business community become seized with the peace process.

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