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Sri Lanka Urges Pressure on Tamil Rebels


Sri Lanka's foreign minister is urging the international community to put pressure on Tamil rebel leaders to return to stalled peace talks.

During a visit to Japan Thursday, Mangala Samaraweera said the international community should take a more active role in Sri Lanka's crisis.

Increasing violence between Sri Lankan military personnel and Tamil rebels has raised fears that a 2002 cease-fire is on the verge of collapse. Some 200 people have been killed since the beginning of April.

Attempts by the international community, including Japan, to bring Tamil leaders back to Norwegian-brokered peace talks have been unsuccessful.

Earlier this week, Washington urged the European Union to label Sri Lanka's main Tamil rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as a terrorist organization, which could cut the rebels' access to money and weapons.

The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland in the ethnic Tamil-dominated north and east. More than 60,000 people were killed before the 2002 cease-fire.

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