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Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 5.03 GMT

SL victory over LTTE disproved skeptics - Blake


Sri Lanka's decision to defeat the LTTE terrorists militarily disproved the skeptics who thought it could not be achieved, Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake said.

In a radio interview with Grant Reeher, the host of the Campbell Conversations program at Syracuse University in New York recently, Blake said most did not believe that LTTE could be militarily defeated but Sri Lanka proved them wrong.

"Most of us believed it couldn't be done, but they disproved a lot of the skeptics. But they did so at a very high cost," he said.

"It points now to the need for very serious reconciliation and accountability efforts to take place so that the country can be unified and it can again I think realize the promise that Sri Lanka has always had," Blake noted.

Discussing a recent article in the New Yorker that said Sri Lanka's military strategy is being accepted by some governments as a model to eradicate terrorism Blake said first thing to recognize is that LTTE bore a large part of the responsibility for the civilian toll of Sri Lanka's war.

The former Ambassador said despite the calls to protect civilians, the LTTE, systematically refused international efforts to allow the displaced people trapped between the advancing security forces and the LTTE to move from the conflict areas to the south and violated international law by not allowing freedom of movement to those civilians.

"So, had the LTTE actually allowed people to move south, none of this would have happened in the first place, so it's important to make that point," he said adding that point often gets lost in the debate on the matter.

Assistant Secretary Blake accused the LTTE of deliberately placing heavy artillery in the midst of civilian camps to draw fire from the government forces hoping that the civilian deaths would make the international community to direct its anger against the government and demand to stop the offensive.

He said the West was in a difficult situation as they wanted to see the defeat of the terrorist organization but not at the cost of civilians.






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Last modified: February 02, 2011.

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