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PostSubject: Peace in Sri Lanka   Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:13 pm

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Sri Lanka: President calls for global action to fight terrorism


Rome, 1 Dec. (AKI) - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the Mumbai terrorist attacks should remind everyone about the risk of terrorism and the need for international cooperation to stop it. Rajapaksa spoke to Adnkronos International (AKI) during an unofficial visit to the Italian capital Rome where he was to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Monday.

"It is an eye opener to everybody in the international community because it targeted foreigners especially Americans, British and Israelis," Rajapaksa said.

"It is like 9/11 (attacks) in India - an experience that everyone must take seriously."

Sri Lanka has experienced its own terrorism from Tamil Tiger militants who have been fighting for a separate homeland for more than 25 years. Rajapaksa is leading an aggressive campaign to defeat them in the country's northeast.

Sri Lankan soldiers recaptured a key northern town near the headquarters of Tamil Tiger rebels 18 years after the area was seized by the insurgents, the military said Monday.

Troops reportedly seized Kokavil town, about 20 kilometres south of the insurgents' de facto capital of Kilinochchi, on Sunday.

Speaking in Rome, Rajapaksa said the Italian government had helped Sri Lanka by arresting Tamil sympathisers this year but he warned they were still getting financial aid from Sri Lankans abroad.

"They have come to the west. There are refugees here. They collect money," he said. "There are front organisations, they are taking advantage of it, they are collecting money and sending it there. "

While the country is still wracked by war, Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka had now recovered from the devastating 2004 tsunami.

He said donations, including 53 million euros provided by Italy, had been used to rebuild homes, hospitals and schools.
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