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* U.S. condemns continuing violence in Sri Lanka
Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 08:41 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 18, Washington, DC: Expressing concern over the communal clashes between Sinhalese and Muslim residents of two Southern coastal towns in Sri Lanka, the United States Tuesday condemned the continuing violence in the island.

"We are concerned by inflammatory rhetoric that has incited violence in recent days, resulting in several deaths, scores of injuries, and destruction of personal property," the U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the daily press briefing on Tuesday.

The U.S. urged the Sri Lankan Government to "fulfill its obligations to protect religious minorities, including protecting all citizens and places of worship, conducting a full investigation into the violence, and bringing those responsible to justice."

The U.S. urged all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law.

"The United States Government continues to stand by the many millions of Sri Lankans who want a peaceful and unified country," the spokesperson said.

Communal clashes between the Muslims and Sinhala Buddhists erupted in Southern coastal towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala after a Buddhist extremist group Bodu Bala Sena held a rally calling for reprisals against the Muslims for an alleged attack on a Buddhist monk and his driver by a Muslim youth in the Muslim-dominated Dharga Town in Aluthgama.

The clashes left three dead and scores injured while mobs on both sides have made considerable damage to shops, businesses and common properties.

The Sri Lankan government has come under severe criticism for failing to control the radical Buddhist group and turning a blind eye to the actions of the hardline monk leader of the group.

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