6:18 PM

Anti-Lanka actions will stoke conflict

Sri Lanka called on Western powers to be wary of imposing sanctions for alleged human rights violations, warning that the action could worsen the conflict.

"It is necessary to have sympathy for and understanding of the problems of a developing country grappling with terrorism," International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said in Washington. "And to cut off resources, to threaten to withdraw trade benefits and GSP (General System of Preference) are unhelpful as that will only mean the dissemination of poverty, deprivation and adversity," he told AFP.

Minister Peiris said under such sanctions and other pressures on "a democratic Government pitted against terrorism, you can't possibly prevail." The Minister was in Washington for talks with US officials and to woo US investors to set up business in the Eastern Province.

The US State Department said Thursday that there was no military solution to the ethnic conflict, and emphasized the need for a political settlement. "We have said repeatedly that there is no military solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka and there needs to be a political solution," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Evan Feigenbaum. AFP