US Envoy to Visit Sri Lanka

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 12:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States says it is sending a top envoy for talks next week in Sri Lanka, which faces allegations of human rights violations in its civil war that ended two years ago.

A U.S. statement says Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake will meet in Sri Lanka with government and non-governmental officials, university students and political leaders.

Blake is the top U.S. diplomat for South and Central Asian affairs.

Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war ended in 2009 with the military's defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

A U.N. panel has estimated that thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in the final phase of the conflict. The panel also said it found credible allegations of human rights violations, including possible war crimes, committed by the military and the rebels.

The government has denied the allegations. But officials acknowledge that civilians may have been killed in the last stage of the war. They say it was impossible to avoid such casualties given the magnitude of the fighting and the “ruthlessness” of the opponent.