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EU urges end to Sri Lanka violence before talks

Written by: Staff

BRUSSELS, Oct 26 (Reuters) The European Union called on the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels today to halt hostilities and seek ways out of the 23-year conflict at peace talks in Switzerland this weekend.

EU president Finland said the bloc was concerned about allegations of serious human rights abuses committed on both sides and the plight of civilians caught in the conflict. It urged both sides to allow safe access to aid and reconstruction workers.

''The presidency believes there is no military solution to the conflict and has called on the parties to find a political solution,'' it said in a statement.

''The legitimate interests and aspirations of all communities must be accommodated as part of the political settlement.'' The statement is the second time this month the EU has raised concerns that the peace talks could be endangered by almost daily battles between Sri Lankan government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the island's far north.

The Tigers want a separate homeland for ethnic Tamils in the island's north and east. More than 65,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it started in 1983.

A mortar bomb explosion wounded seven people, including four children, in Sri Lanka's east today, after a child attempted to lift the buried device, the military said.

Reuters PB DB2024

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