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Sri Lanka: After attack, calls for peace talks

After deadly attack, Annan calls on all sides in Sri Lanka to resume peace talks

Condemning today’s suicide bomb attack in Sri Lanka that killed one of the army’s top officers and three other people near the capital, Colombo, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on all sides to return to the negotiating table, saying that “no cause can justify such acts of violence.”

“The Secretary-General appeals to the parties to redouble their efforts to resume peace talks under the facilitation of the Norwegian Government,” his spokesman said in a statement, referring to negotiations between the Government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Major General Parami Kulatunga was the third-highest ranking officer in Sri Lanka’s army and his killing, along with that of the three other people, is the latest in increasing violence on the island in recent months. Mr. Annan and other high-level UN officials have also repeatedly called for an end to such killings and a return to peace talks.

An attack on a bus on 15 June reportedly killed 62 civilians and injured more than 40 others, including school-aged children, while on 13 May, 13 Tamil civilians were killed on the island of Keyts in Jaffna, including an infant and a young child. There have also been other recent incidents despite a ceasefire agreement of February 2002 aimed at ending two decades of fighting between the Government and separatist forces that has claimed some 60,000 lives.

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