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Goff condemns SriLankan Foreign Minister's killing

Goff condemns killing of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today condemned the assassination of his Sri Lankan counterpart Lakshman Kadirgamar, who was shot dead near his Colombo home last night.

Sri Lankan police have blamed the attack on Tamil Tiger rebels. Mr Kadirgamar, a Tamil from the separatist heartland of Jaffna, was a staunch opponent of the Tigers.

"During my visit to Sri Lanka in February Mr Kadirgamar and I had constructive discussions about how the peace process could be sustained, and about relief and reconstruction efforts in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami, which claimed over 30,000 lives there and left tens of thousands homeless," Mr Goff said.

"I deplore the assassination, and utterly condemn those who resort to violence to achieve their ends. The only way to create a lasting peace for the people of Sri Lanka will be through negotiation not violence.

"It would be a tragedy for Sri Lanka for conflict to resume after 30 years of violence that has claimed over 60,000 lives and has had an enormous economic and social cost for both Sinhalese and Tamils alike," Mr Goff said.

Mr Kadirgamar, 73, was a close aide of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He was appointed foreign minister in April 2004, but had previously held the position from 1994 to 2001.

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz


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