The United States yesterday reiterated its call to disarm the breakaway LTTE faction headed by Chief Minister of the newly elected Eastern PC Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan.
`The TMVP should be disarmed and the recruitment of children to its ranks must be stopped and its cadres disbanded,` Counsellor of Embassy and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States of America, James R. Moore said yesterday.
Moore was speaking at a panel discussion on Revival of the East: Challenges and Opportunities at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
He said that the government should take steps to rein in the human rights violations, disappearances and extra judicial killings that were still taking place in the East.
The call was made a day after US officials participated at the opening of the Arugam Bay bridge, built with USAID funds, along with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrakanthan.
`The perpetrators must be made accountable for their actions,` he said.
`No election is perfect. We urge the government to take seriously the reports of intimidations and irregularities and conduct investigations,` Moore said.
He stressed that these steps were important if the people are to have confidence in the stabilisation and development plans the government had for the East and to enhance public trust through transparency.
`It is important to try and find out how the people of the East feel and what they think of the elections and their personal security,`
He also said that the government had a historic opportunity to fully implement the 13th Amendment.
Moore said that it was a test case for the government of Sri Lanka, an important challenge and an opportunity for the government and the people of the East.
`The US will give top priority to the development and stabilisation of the East and we will work closely with national and local level governments and other partners,` he said.
The US will focus on activities that would build public trust and provide law enforcement officers training in policing and safeguarding human rights.
Moore said that the US was encouraged by the positive steps taken by the government so far.
The Governor of the Eastern Province Rear Admiral (Retd.) Mohan Wijewickrema however denied the existence of paramilitary groups in the East.
`There are no paramilitary groups operating in the East, at least I have never seen them in the towns. If they are seen in the open, they would be arrested and prosecuted. However, the situation in the interior may be different as I have not visited the remote villages for security reasons,` he told business leaders at the summit.