Sri Lanka: Cessation of Fighting

Press Statement
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 19, 2009

The United States welcomes the cessation of fighting in Sri Lanka and the apparent conclusion to its long-running conflict. This 26-year-old conflict has cost tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil lives, uprooted countless Sri Lankans from their homes, left thousands maimed or wounded, and has brutally divided the nation.


The United States remains deeply concerned for the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) uprooted by the recent fighting. We especially recognize the tremendous loss of life and hardship endured by civilians in northern Sri Lanka during the past weeks and months, and are relieved that this loss of life has ended. We urge the Government to allow humanitarian access to the camps and to work hand in hand with the UN, ICRC, and non-government organizations to ensure all IDPs are accorded rights and care meeting the highest international standards. We are prepared to work with the Government to provide for the basic needs of all of its citizens, and abide by its commitment to return the majority of IDPs to their homes by the end of this year.


To truly defeat terrorism, the Government of Sri Lanka needs to begin to heal the wounds of the conflict and work toward building a democratic, prosperous, tolerant and united Sri Lanka and work toward justice and reconciliation for both sides. A lasting peace in Sri Lanka depends on Sinhalese, Tamils and all other Sri Lankans working together to achieve new power sharing arrangements that safeguard and promote the rights of all Sri Lankans.


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PRN: 2009/480