Sri Lanka has called on Western powers to be wary of imposing sanctions for its alleged human rights violations, warning that the action could worsen the island's long-running ethnic conflict. The United States and the European Union have withheld various aid programs and are debating whether to withdraw special trade benefits from Sri Lanka amid concerns the human rights situation has deteriorated since the government pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered truce with the Tamil Tigers in January. "It really is necessary to have sympathy for and understanding of the problems of a developing country that is grappling with terrorism," Sri Lanka's minister of international trade G.L. Peiris said in Washington.