The diplomatic-row between the United States (US) and India has delayed the planned visit of United States (US) Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal to Sri Lanka this month, it is learnt.
Earlier, she was supposed to come to Sri Lanka after a visit to India. However, the diplomat spat between India and the US, triggered by the arrest of Indian Deputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade, had delayed her visit to India. Ms. Khobragade was accused of lying on an application for her housekeeper's work visa, over-reporting the amount of money the housekeeper was paid. India has responded to the US act through various measures.
Ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, the US had sought to send Ms. Biswal to Sri Lanka after talks with Indian leaders on the Sri Lanka issue among others.
Ms. Biswal, who was appointed to the post by US President Barak Obama, was to arrive in the country during the second week of January. However, the US authorities have indicated to Sri Lanka that she will come by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador at Large on war crimes Stephen J. Rapp visited Sri Lanka from January 6-11 to meet with government and political leaders, civil society, and to tour former conflict zones. He learnt about the progress made since the conflict ended, as well as the Sri Lankan people's continued desire, for reconciliation, justice and accountability.
A statement from the embassy said, “During Ambassador Rapp's discussions, he listened to eyewitness accounts about serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that occurred at the end of the war. In that context, the government of the United States encourages the government of Sri Lanka to seek the truth through independent and credible investigations, and where relevant, have prosecutions.
The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace and prosperity for all of the people of Sri Lanka. It is vital that all sides come to an agreement on events, have appropriate redress, and move forward as a unified country that upholds the rule of law and respects the principles of democratic governance.(Kelum Bandara)