US for open investigation of war crimes allegations in Lanka

Sri Lanka announced yesterday the it was lifting the state of emergency imposed nearly 30 years ago to confront the threat from the Tamil Tigers.

"We do welcome the news that Sri Lankan President (Mahinda) Rajapaksa has proposed to the parliament that the emergency laws be withdrawn, and we do see this as a positive step for the Sri Lankan people," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.

"We call on Sri Lanka to have a transparent, open, and accountable process," said the State Department spokesperson.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dispatching Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake to Sri Lanka next week.

Nuland said the announcement by Rajapaksa sets up a good visit for Blake, who will be talking to a broad cross-section of Sri Lankans, both to the government and to human rights groups and NGOs.

"He'll meet with government officials, civil society representatives, university students, political leaders in Colombo, and he's also going to Jaffna," she said.

"We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to meet its international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations, and we continue to say that if they cannot do this nationally, then the international community will have to step in. So Bob Blake will be talking about all these issues on his visit," Nuland said.

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