|US, others, have role to end conflict: Armitage
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said yesterday the United States and other nations have a role to play in settling the conflict in Sri Lanka.
"The United States should be playing a role in concert with other nations, committing our human and financial resources to settling this conflict because it can be done. And because its the right thing to do," Armitage said in a speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington last Friday.
Armitage praised the government of Norway for bringing the warring parties to the negotiating table. He also praised Sri Lankan President Kumaratunga for her 1995 peace plan.
Armitage said the challenge for the Sri Lankan government, as well as for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is to give the Sri Lankan people "Tangible signs of progress and a way to participate in the process".
"It is critical," he said, "that both parties continue to honour and keep this cease-fire".
Armitage called on both parties in the conflict to accept pluralism within Sri Lankan society and to protect the human rights of all Sri Lankans.
"From my point of view, and from my governments point of view," Armitage said, "it is reasonable to hope that Sri Lanka will not only be able to add to the legacy of optimism of such past successes but will also be able to build a model for peace and prosperity in a multifaceted society".
Armitage pointed out that the US has pledged 58 million in humanitarian support for Sri Lanka, as well another $1 million for demining.
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