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US condemns LTTE suicide attack

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Apr 26: The US has condemned the suicide attack on Sri Lanka's army chief as escalation of violence by the LTTE rebels.

Criticising the attack the US said countries supporting Sri Lankan peace efforts will soon hold talks on the situation.

Yesterday, a female suicide bomber, pretending to be pregnant blew herself up inside the army headquarters compound in Colombo killing at least eight people and seriously wounding the army chief, Sarath Fonseka. Nearly 30 other people were also injured in the attack.

The attack has come as a set back to the Norwegian led talks for peace in the island nation.

Meanwhile, as a retaliatory step Sri Lankan military attacked Tamil rebels positions through air and naval strikes in the northeastern district of Trincomalee, media reports said here.

The US, along with Japan, Norway and the European Union, co-chaired a donor's conference on Sri Lanka in Tokyo in June 2003, and have continued as informal sponsors of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers.

Talking to media at the State Department Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said he expects the Tokyo co-chairs to meet soon and discuss ways of dealing with the latest violence.

Mr Boucher expressed condolences and sympathies to those affected by the suicide bombing and said the United States was working with other parties to try to prevent a return to full-scale civil warfare in the troubled island.

''This is an act of violence to the political process as well,'' said he said.

''It's a provocation. It's regrettable that the Tamil Tigers decided to restart the war instead of the peace talks. And we are in touch with other governments both here and in other parts of the world to bring to bear whatever pressure we can on the Tamil Tigers to abandon this course of action,'' Mr Boucher added.

The Tigers, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, has been listed by the State Department as a terrorist organisation.

The LTTE pulled out of a round of Geneva peace talks that had been set for this week, citing violence against its supporters by the government.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan also condemned yesterday's suicide attack saying he was disturbed by the escalating cycle of violence on the island.

Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesman of the State Department Adam Ereli described the suicide bombing as ''a clear act of terror'' which we condemn.

He said it is an attack against the Sri Lankan government. It is an unacceptable act of terror, a clear provocation and escalation of violence and we express our sympathies and condolences to the victims of this attack and we'll continue our efforts to work with the parties in Sri Lanka.

UNI

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