France calls on Sri Lanka to seek lasting peace

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After France declared victory on the decades-old conflict with the Tamil Tigers France called on Sri Lanka to seek lasting peace.

Paris – France on Monday called on Sri Lanka to seek a lasting peace after its military declared victory in the decades-old conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who spoke by phone with his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama, said fighting must come to an end after the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) admitted defeat.

"Today, it is up to the Sri Lankan government to act responsibly toward civilians and build conditions for a lasting peace that will benefit all of the population of Sri Lanka," said Kouchner.

France is ready to "contribute to the consolidation of this process that will shape the future of the country," he added.

Rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and some 250 holdout fighters were killed in the final battle.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels called for an independent inquiry into allegations of human rights violations. France's minister for Europe Bruno Le Maire attended the meeting.

Kouchner and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband failed during a trip to Colombo last month to persuade the Sri Lanka government to declare a truce and allow aid in for civilians trapped by the fighting.

For months, Sri Lanka blocked most aid agencies from working in the conflict zone, and herded about 110,000 fleeing civilians into overcrowded camps guarded by the military.

AFP / Expatica

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