Kumaratunga calls Tamil rebels an ‘ominous’ threat
UNITED NATIONS: Sri Lanka’s president said terrorism in her country was creating a level of distress similar to that of last year’s tsunami, calling the current domestic situation ‘ominous’ as she voiced support for targeted UN sanctions against armed rebel groups such as the Tamil Tigers.
Chandrika Kumaratunga on Saturday leveled harsh criticism against the Tigers on the first day of the UN General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting.
“Just as my country was in national distress in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, we are now in distress in the face of an ominous renewal of terror on our soil,” Kumaratunga said.
Denouncing the group’s ‘terrorist activities,’ she said the Tigers had demonstrated a disregard for international law and practice for more than two decades. Despite joint action between the government and the rebels in tsunami reconstruction work this year, Kumaratunga said, “all efforts to have the (peace) talks renewed have so far failed.” A peace process “cannot and does not operate in a vacuum,” she told the assembled leaders and ministers. She urged the international community to support the Sri Lankan government’s attempts to negotiate with the Tigers, just as it showed support in the months following the tsunami, which killed tens of thousands in Sri Lanka. ap