COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP)--A top United Nations official warned Wednesday that progress in Sri Lanka's peace process was necessary for development to take place in the tsunami-affected island and urged the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resolve the two-decade conflict.
"If there is peace in this country we can perform miracles in the next couple of years," Jan Egeland, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief told reporters. "If there is no peace, I foresee a long and difficult humanitarian phase that we cannot go into development."
Egeland is on two-day visit to Sri Lanka to review the coordination of international assistance in the wake of the Dec. 26, Indian Ocean tsunami.
He canceled his visit to tsunami-affected Indonesia and instead will travel later Wednesday to Pakistan, hit by a devastating earthquake that is believed to have killed more than 35,000.
However, Egeland assured that the international community will not shift its attention from nations affected by the tsunami. More than 220,000 people in 11 countries were killed or left missing by that catastrophe.
"The money which is committed will be honored ... hold donors to their pledge, " Egeland assured.
"What I hope is the same generosity," for Kashmir and African countries, will be as forthcoming as for those affected by the tsunami, he said.
The Tigers began fighting the government in 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, accusing majority Sinhalese of discrimination. More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before Norway brokered a cease- fire in 2002.
Subsequent peace talks broke down two years ago but the truce has held despite increasing strains.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires