Madam Secretary

WANTED: Clinton, for aiding terrorism

Some people in Sri Lanka apparently think Secretary Clinton is aiding and abetting terrorism. Also “implicated” are British Foreign Minister David Miliband (left in posters) and Erik Solheim, the Norwegian international development minister, according to the posters photographed today in the capital city of Colombo. Earlier this year, FP named the Sri Lanka conflict as one ...

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Hillary Clinton in Colombo posters, April 29, 2009

Some people in Sri Lanka apparently think Secretary Clinton is aiding and abetting terrorism. Also “implicated” are British Foreign Minister David Miliband (left in posters) and Erik Solheim, the Norwegian international development minister, according to the posters photographed today in the capital city of Colombo.

Earlier this year, FP named the Sri Lanka conflict as one of world’s “insurgencies that refuse to die.” In a nutshell, the Tamil Tigers want an independent Tamil state*, free of control from the island’s Sinhalese Buddhist majority. The group — formally called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) — has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.

Presently, some 50,000 civilians are trapped in a 4-square-mile area of LTTE-held territory. The State Department is concerned about the humanitarian situation. At yesterday’s press briefing, Robert Wood, the department’s acting spokesman, said: “we’re calling on the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to cease hostilities and to do what they can to protect civilians and to allow food and medicine and other things into that area to meet the needs of the Sri Lankan people who are affected by this conflict.”

Meanwhile, Miliband and the French foreign minister have been trying to get the Sri Lankan government to implement a cease-fire. As for U.S. diplomacy, Clinton phoned Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee last week, and Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher has been “heavily involved.” However, no senior U.S. government official has plans to travel to Sri Lanka, and no conference regarding the conflict has been proposed.

For related FP content, read last week’s “Day of Reckoning in Sri Lanka.”

*This updates original wording that stated “independent Hindu Tamil state.”

Photo: LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP
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