Sri Lanka's new foreign minister says his country urgently needs international assistance to spur Tamil Tiger rebels back to peace negotiations.
In an interview with the Associated Press Friday, Mangala Samaraweera said democracy in Sri Lanka is under siege due to the extreme position of the Tigers (known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). Despite the lack of progress on peace negotiations, the foreign minister said newly elected President Mahinda Rajapakse is still committed to the peace process.
In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her concern about the recent violence to Mr. Samaraweera in a private meeting Thursday. He said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns will travel to Sri Lanka to encourage renewed negotiations between the government and the rebels.