Sri Lanka

Donor countries caution Sri Lankan government and rebels

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Colombo (dpa) - Representatives of donor countries backing Sri Lanka's peace process Tuesday cautioned both the government and Tamil rebels on what they called the "deteriorating security situation".

The European Union, United States, Japan and Norway who form the so-called Co-Chairs of Sri Lanka's peace process, urged the government to improve the security situation and called on the Tamil rebels to prevent killings.

Maintenance of the ongoing Ceasefire Agreement is the responsibility of both the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, a statement said.

"Co-chairs believe that it is time the parties demonstrate the seriousness of their commitment to the Ceasefire Agreement," it added.

"Since February 2005, there has been an escalation of violence resulting in the killing and injuring of persons associated with the government of Sri Lanka, the LTTE and other political parties groups," it noted.

The agreement would be undermined, if security is not guaranteed and the greater peace process would be "gravely jeopardized and international support for that process would be deeply eroded".

The co-chairs called on the rebels to stop all killings and said the Sri Lankan government should ensure the disarmament of all paramilitary groups.

More than 70 members of rival groups including army intelligence officers, have been gunned down by suspected rebels since February 2005.

Norway and the international community has been trying to push through a peace process to end the ethnic conflict which has claimed more than 69,000 lives. Talks between the two sides have stalled since April 2003, but the truce has been upheld despite serious incidents. dpa ad pb sr

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