US concern over Lanka war crimes not frivolous’

Thursday, 10 February 2011 00:13 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


CHENNAI: Former US envoy to Sri Lanka Teresita Schaffer ruled out American backing for Tamil Eelam and said that the concern about war crimes in Sri Lanka was not frivolous. There was evidence that the end of the civil war between the island troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) was brutal.

At a forum on ‘US perspective on security in South Asian region with special emphasis on Nepal and Sri Lanka’ Schaffer stressed on Monday the need for genuine reconciliation by the Rajapaksa government.

“If the reconciliation process is allowed to slide, then some new internal conflict may spring up,” said Schaffer, who is also the director of the South Asia Programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I don’t have any clear sense on how one can persuade the Sri Lankan leader on reconciliation,” she said. 

Schaffer also welcomed reconciliation efforts but said the focus should also be on war crimes. The former US envoy also said that the American ties with India hasn’t changed strategically but was on its way there.

 “South Asia gained importance in strategic thinking of the US during the last five years. Earlier, it was focused on Persian Gulf and Japan. Now the policy is driven by great possibilities of ties with India,” she said.

Schaffer said that she did not expect the US and Indian alliance against China, but at the same time added that China was one of the factors for the alliance.