US: Patience with Sri Lanka could 'wear thin'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. diplomat for South Asia says international patience could wear thin with Sri Lanka unless it takes action to address allegations of atrocities during the island nation's civil war.

British Prime Minister David Cameron last month gave Sri Lanka a March deadline for showing progress on postwar reconciliation, after which he would call for a U.N.-backed inquiry into allegations of war crimes.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal stopped short Tuesday of endorsing a deadline, but urged Sri Lanka to take concrete steps on its own, particularly on issues of accountability.

A U.N. report has suggested that Sri Lanka's military may have killed up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of the war in 2009 as it crushed ethnic Tamil rebels, also accused of atrocities.

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