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MR will not meet US officials

22 January 2011 06:49 am - 27     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Admitting that Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa is in fact on U.S. soil but on a private visit, the US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told the daily media briefing in Washington that the State Department made no arrangements for him to meet any US official and that he was positive that assistant secretary for South Asia Robert Blake did not meet the Sri Lanka president.

When asked about calls to investigate President Rajapaksa for alleged violations of humanitarian laws the State Department spokesman said the U.S. is supporting Sri Lanka's process on the issue.

"We have made strong public statements and are supporting what Sri Lanka is doing. It's a process that is still ongoing," he said.

Mr. Crowley however declared "We clearly believe that those who have violated international humanitarian law must be held accountable, and we believe that accountability for alleged crimes is an essential component of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

Following is the full text of the dialogue between State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley and the media at Washington State Department media briefing Friday 21 January:

QUESTION: What’s your understanding of the visit of the – or what do you know about the visit to the United States of the president of Sri Lanka?
MR. CROWLEY: He is visiting the United States and it is a private visit.

QUESTION: Is he – does he have any – he has no plans to meet with any U.S. officials?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: I understand he might be in Texas and that Assistant Secretary Blake was there. There was some speculation that the two might meet.
MR. CROWLEY: There is no meeting that I’m aware of with the president during his visit. So I – yes, you’re right. I think Assistant Secretary Blake gave a speech at Rice University, but we specifically asked, and there’s no meeting between a U.S. Government official and President Rajapaksa.
QUESTION: Is the Sri Lankan foreign minister with him? And maybe you will meet him or the Secretary will.

MR. CROWLEY: Again, if I’m wrong, we’ll correct the record, but I’m not aware of any meetings associated with his visit.

QUESTION: There have been some calls for him to be investigated or to be looked into or even prosecuted. Is this something that you’re willing to look at?
MR. CROWLEY: Well – and in fact, we have made strong public statements and are supporting what Sri Lanka is doing. It’s a process that is still ongoing. We clearly believe that those who have violated international humanitarian law must be held accountable, and we believe that accountability for alleged crimes is an essential component of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

There is a Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission that has been receiving testimony from hundreds of people. I think its mandate has been extended to June of this year, at which time it will make a report to President Rajapaksa. We would hope that Sri Lanka would continue this effort and take advantage of expertise that exists, for example, within the United Nations and the Secretary General’s Panel for Experts that has volunteered to provide assistance to Sri Lanka as it continues this effort.

QUESTION: Right, but the president and his government have refused the UN any (inaudible) as I understand it, correct?
MR. CROWLEY: I understand that. So we –

QUESTION: Well, so why wouldn’t this be an opportunity, if he’s in the United States, to meet with him –

MR. CROWLEY: We will – this is a process that is ongoing. We will continue to encourage Sri Lanka to have a full accounting of what happened at the end of the – during and at the end of this conflict. We think it’s very, very important to Sri Lanka’s future, and we will not hesitate to speak out as this process continues.

QUESTION: Right, well, if it is very, very important to Sri Lanka’s future and you support the UN role in this, why not take the opportunity of a visit of the president to meet with him and to reinforce that position, tell him face to face?

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve had no trouble communicating our views to the Government of Sri Lanka.

QUESTION:
Well, how about this then? Have you –

MR. CROWLEY: I –

QUESTION: Have you sought – have you asked to meet with him?

MR. CROWLEY: We did not; nor did he ask to meet with us.

QUESTION: Well, okay, then can I ask why not ask to meet with him if you feel so strongly that his government should drop its opposition to UN involvement in this panel?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we’re going to wait and see how this process unfolds, and if it falls short, we will not hesitate to say so. (Asian Tribune)
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  Comments - 27

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  • Phil Saturday, 22 January 2011 10:55 AM

    When a politician is on private trip or on a holiday there should not be any hinderance.

    The same rule does not apply to the poor citizen Perera!

    IQBAL Saturday, 22 January 2011 11:29 AM

    He's head must have been knock on cabinet door i guess!!!

    kalum Saturday, 22 January 2011 11:59 AM

    Sri lanka dont need UN panel .it was intern problem.the war is over. now they need development process.everybody should help to Sri lanka.

    Cobra Saturday, 22 January 2011 12:51 PM

    He was on a 'private' visit wasn't he?

    Gunapala Saturday, 22 January 2011 01:33 PM

    yes we pay--- through our noses!

    nathan Saturday, 22 January 2011 02:58 PM

    Any US official interest in meeting MR before he is cleared his name for war crime in Sri LAnka?

    kabir Sunday, 23 January 2011 12:27 PM

    If it in an interlan ting why our president needed to go to the US health check how about srilankan health system inferior then improve it for god sake

    Observer Saturday, 22 January 2011 03:26 PM

    Though you say your house has collapsed, your computer and internet connection are in good order. Do you think we're all as stupid as you UNP voters?

    citizen1 Saturday, 22 January 2011 04:01 PM

    Aren't our doctors good enough?

    Yehiya-Doha Saturday, 22 January 2011 04:27 PM

    Its urgent call from boss.

    nissanka Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:10 AM

    Who is this goos asking these questions. Doesn't he understand simple English. ?.

    Yehiya-Doha Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:26 AM

    His private visit. To meet his brother & health reason. Pls do not disturb some days. These days in Sri lanka cabinet is doing good job.

    Tharaka Chanaka Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:33 AM

    A long paid vacation courtesy of the Sri lankan village people.

    kavindra Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:38 AM

    did u knock ur head sme where!!

    bandar Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:36 AM

    Obviously the individual who was throwing salvo at Mr. Crowley is coming from LTTE international.

    Sandakelum Rajapaksa Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:51 AM

    Sir,we pay your bill.

    Sandakelum Rajapaksa Saturday, 22 January 2011 07:54 AM

    ........or US officials will not allow?

    Rajapaksa Saturday, 22 January 2011 08:05 AM

    Sometimes Officials Make Unofficial Calls!!

    Thas Saturday, 22 January 2011 08:16 AM

    Of course, how can you meet, when you are not invited. Simple logic.

    Royalist Saturday, 22 January 2011 08:50 AM

    Not yet ready for Waterloo...

    vanlose Saturday, 22 January 2011 08:50 AM

    Private visit? wander who pays the cost for the entire entourage?
    On the other hand what a shame the head of state (MR) not been welcomed by the hosts!

    Ezhilini Saturday, 22 January 2011 09:32 AM

    Actually, The title should be US officials will not meet MR

    Maheswari Batti Saturday, 22 January 2011 09:38 AM

    Dear Mr President sir, our house collapsed due to the flood,please provide house good sir! May good gods bless you!!!
    Maheswari

    HUKUMI haneef Sunday, 23 January 2011 05:09 AM

    US and UK knows about our fellows, their very smart in doing things.....So the out come will be like this


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