`Hillary, Jayalalitha discuss situation in Lanka`

Last week, Hillary Clinton met Jayalalitha during her visit to Chennai.

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha had a long conversation over the current situation in Sri Lanka and felt
the need for greater progress towards reconciliation there, a State Department official has said.

Last week, Hillary Clinton met Jayalalitha during her visit to Chennai.

"They actually had quite a long conversation about Sri Lanka, and I think they both agreed that we have concerns about the situation in Sri Lanka," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters.

"We hope that there`s going to be greater progress towards reconciliation. The meeting sort of comes in the context of this recent film, the Channel 4 documentary that`s gotten a lot of attention around the world, including here in the United States," he said.

The United States, he said, believes that Sri Lanka must investigate the very troubling incidents that were reported in this documentary and in other documentaries and bring those that may be responsible for those to justice.

"More broadly, the Secretary (of State) and (Chief) Minister Jayalalitha talked about how there needs to be greater progress towards reconciliation and that really, the
government should redouble efforts to reach an agreement in their dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance on all of the key issues of concern to Tamils inside Sri Lanka," Blake said.

"That includes issues like an accounting for those who died at the end of the war, those who may still be in detention or camps somewhere because I think that`s probably the number one issue of concern to a lot of these IDPs," he said.

Blake also stressed on the need to finish the resettlement process with about 12,000 peoples still in camps.

"So the government`s made very good progress on that. They now have to finish the demining efforts. We`re helping a lot in that regard. So that needs to happen," he said.

"I think the government needs to make some progress also on the human rights piece of it. That includes things like ending these emergency regulations that have been in place for a long time, disarming some of the paramilitaries that continue to be responsible for human rights violations, and then more broadly, just improving the overall human rights situation, particularly addressing things like media freedom," Blake said.

"This of course is of great interest to the Tamils in Tamil Nadu, and I think that was reflected in the interest that the Chief Minister showed," he said.


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