UN hails Sri Lanka elections

United Nations, Sep 20 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has hailed Saturday's provincial elections in Sri Lanka as an important opportunity for reconciliation in the country.

"The secretary-general welcomes the provincial elections, particularly in the Northern Province, where these are the first elections since the creation of Provincial Councils in 1987," Xinhua reported.

Ban views the elections as "an important opportunity to foster political reconciliation and to build confidence between Sri Lankans after many years of conflict", a UN statement said.

Sri Lanka military crushed the Tamil Tigers in 2009 after a nearly three decade conflict that left thousands dead. The country is still recovering from the protracted war.

The UN chief called on "all parties to participate peacefully in the elections" and urged them to work together later to address the national and post-war agenda "constructively and collaboratively".

Sri Lanka's northern province, which includes the Tamil hub Jaffna, was for decades a stronghold of the now vanquished Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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