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Fresh call from US to reduce military in North

14 September 2012 10:14 am - 81     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake today called on the Sri Lanka government to reduce the presence of military in North and accelerate implementation of LLRC action plan.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo a short while ago, Mr. Blake said that during his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he has promised to hold the election in the north by December 2013. “But I hope that the election could be held sooner,” he told the reporters.

He also expressed his disappointment over the lack of talks between the government and the Tamil National Alliance. (Dianne Silva)

Statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State

Great to be back in Sri Lanka.  I have had a wide-ranging and productive series of meetings with political leaders, business community leaders and members of civil society.  Before I go further, let me take the opportunity to welcome the arrival of our new Ambassador Michele Sison.  She only arrived last week, but comes ready to serve the United States as one of our most experienced career diplomats and experts in South Asian affairs.  I know Sri Lankans will extend her the same warm welcome and hospitality you extended me throughout my stay in Sri Lanka.

The United States has had a long and productive partnership with Sri Lanka.  We have provided over $2 billion in assistance and have an important economic relationship – the United States is the largest single export destination for Sri Lankan goods.  And we have a strong partnership in counterterrorism and maritime security.  We have also worked closely together on issues such as demining and support for the IDPs.

I had positive meetings with the Minister of External Affairs Peiris, Minister de Silva, Minister Samarasinghe, Secretary to the President Weeratunga, Defense Secretary Rajapaksa, leaders of the TNA, and civil society.  

I discussed in all our meetings the need for accelerated progress to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the National Action Plan.  I emphasized the importance of progress in reducing the role and profile of the military in the North, and full respect for human rights.

On issues of accountability, it is our hope that three years after the end of the conflict, there can be a credible and transparent accounting, investigation and prosecution of some of the outstanding and serious allegations of human rights violations, as well as progress on the missing. I also urged that the Northern Provincial Council elections be held as soon as possible and encouraged an early resumption of talks between the TNA and the government to agree on powers to be devolved to the provinces.

On the economic front, I am pleased that the American Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a trade fair to celebrate its 20th anniversary.  I met with members of the AmCham at a lunch earlier today to discuss both the opportunities in sectors such as tourism and information technology, and the challenges that need to be overcome for Sri Lanka to attract greater investment.

On a related note of partnership, I wanted to pay special recognition to the fact that the U.S.-Sri Lankan Fulbright Commission is celebrating its 60th Anniversary.  Thanks to this program, nearly 650 Sri Lankan students have gone to the United States, while Sri Lanka has hosted over 380 Americans as researchers, teachers, and students.

This powerful legacy has touched generations in both of our countries and made both of our societies stronger as a result.  We are so pleased to be continuing this important bilateral cooperation and I also wanted to thank and commend Fulbright executive director Tissa Jayatilaka for his leadership of the Fulbright Commission for more than two decades.

Our hope remains that all Sri Lankans will be able to enjoy the same rights and dignity, and share a democratic, secure, and prosperous future.

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  Comments - 81

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  • Lobo Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:59 AM

    Take your 2billion and shove it. There are others who are willing to help and not be so crude and arrogant about it. Learn to spell douche-bag!

    Spartacus Friday, 14 September 2012 04:37 PM

    We also need to have the military presence in Colombo also removed.

    peeda mossa Friday, 14 September 2012 11:22 AM

    Mr. Blake, In Sinhala, we call this type of rhetoric "wethi bana ". (A sermon flouted by the preacher himself !)

    Ram Jacobs Saturday, 15 September 2012 04:50 PM

    Blake is a pundi kuti - let him come to the North that he seems to love so much. We will deal with him there !

    Managala Friday, 14 September 2012 11:20 AM

    Okey what else Lord ?

    Dave Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:04 PM

    Dear Mr Blake,
    Please let Srilanka handle its own problems,this county cannot afford to compromise on it's national security.
    also stop being the mouth piece for the LTTTE proxy groups and the policeman to the whole Worlds,
    God bless mother Lanka!

    Lobo Saturday, 15 September 2012 06:19 AM

    Suck up some more...sure to get a green card!

    LBJ Friday, 14 September 2012 05:38 PM

    We have provided over $2 billion in assistance and have an important economic relationship – the United States is the largest single export destination for Sri Lankan goods. This is why you moron....

    Hussain Saturday, 15 September 2012 06:33 AM

    Why do even tolerate him? He is in the hands of the LTTE supporting diaspora in the USA. He is completely biased and should be treated as a pariah.

    LBJ Friday, 14 September 2012 05:40 PM

    We have provided over $2 billion in assistance and have an important economic relationship – the United States is the largest single export destination for Sri Lankan goods.

    Yes get LOST?? Who would buy your exports you Dousche-Bag

    Anton Weerasinghe Saturday, 15 September 2012 06:49 AM

    Reduce your military presence in the world first

    raviraj Friday, 14 September 2012 06:14 PM

    GOSL claims that they have eliminated terrorism, then why the hell do you want to increase military presence in the north, when after defeating JVP menace GOSL did not consider it necessary to maintain a military presence in the south like thye do in the north

    VJ Friday, 14 September 2012 11:45 AM

    Go and look after your guys in Libya, you guys went and liberated it and what happens now no security you guys paid the price same with Sri Lanka its our country we will look after our self no need to take out the military from.

    Gamunu Friday, 14 September 2012 06:28 PM

    Will the US ever learn not to interfere with matters relating to other nations? The current crisis in the mid east is a direct result of US foreign policy. Whenever it suits, they encourage rebel groups to prosper by criticising respective governments. Will they now arm the LTTE implying GOSL is a rogue state? Internal security is a matter for the nation to decide. Not to US.

    veer Friday, 14 September 2012 06:24 PM

    Unfortunately Sri Lanka deserves this type of double standards being a power less country.

    Saskia Friday, 14 September 2012 06:32 PM

    Why is the military needed in North? The war is over. In south, there are not much military as in north, why is this difference?

    SHAN NALLIAH Saturday, 15 September 2012 07:49 AM


    Fair N Square Friday, 14 September 2012 06:50 PM

    Put ur house in Order first... just scaling down ur forces in Afghanistan and Iraq is NOT enough. You need to completely come out from there... You ppl destroyed so many lives and still want to police the world..

    Double standards of the west .... loud and clear....

    We all know.. You reap what you sow, Libya is just a drop in an ocean... more will follow for the deeds that ya' ll committed against humanity...

    Bushel Saturday, 15 September 2012 08:20 AM

    You Blake .. We r going to have army presence all over the country. Ithin umbata moko?

    kumar soysa Friday, 14 September 2012 07:41 PM

    LBJ, your comments are typically "American" but your actions, as a nation is becoming more and more disastrous, as we see in the Middle East and what we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan; you have totaloly dropped the only ally you have in the M.E., namely Israel and enfolded the very people who burn your flag, murder your Ambassadors and call for the destruction of your nation. Sit-up and take a new look at yourselves.

    senavi Friday, 14 September 2012 12:02 PM

    Sir, Look at the map of LTTE territorial claim, which they (including TNA) have not abandoned. It is a matter of survival unlike isolated terrorist attacks.

    oosi Friday, 14 September 2012 07:56 PM

    are you then acknowledging the North is other (another) country for Sri Lanka? Happy occupation!

    Kaslana Friday, 14 September 2012 08:14 PM

    The US want our military drawn down so that USA can supply arms to Tigers and re-ignite EALAM war and then sell military consultancy work too to government like Blackwater, etc.
    Aney munta wenna wadda nadda? Probably this is how the entire US gov't justify their pay checks.

    Senaka Friday, 14 September 2012 08:37 PM

    The truth is we do not want LTTE to raise its ugly head again. For that we need good vigilance. What you want is to destabilize Sri Lanka allowing LTTE to reorganize. We should not allow it to happen at what ever the cost.,it is we who suffered due to LTTE terrorism and not US.

    Fayad Friday, 14 September 2012 12:32 PM

    We are having our military in our own country in north or south
    Why not reduce the US army form middle-east & Asia
    Also why not windrow from the occupied lands.

    perera Friday, 14 September 2012 09:37 PM

    here we go

    do as i say not as i do

    senavi Friday, 14 September 2012 10:03 PM

    What do you know. I thought LBJ was dead.

    thilak Friday, 14 September 2012 10:20 PM

    What about wheat

    Ram Jacobs Friday, 14 September 2012 11:04 PM

    who is this nut case ? Does he want to taste a bit of what their guy in Libya got ? Ask him to go back in to his dirty cave !!!!

    Ram Jacobs Friday, 14 September 2012 11:05 PM

    I can tell you to go to the devil - you cave man cess-pit !!!

    bernardwijeyasingha Sunday, 16 September 2012 01:31 AM

    This issue is non of the US business and Mr. Robert Blake sounds like the voice of the Tamils. Quid Pro Quo or This for that. If Sri Lanka is to reduce her military presence then Jayalalithaa has to stop her demand to get back the island given to Sri Lanka, TESO has to be dissolved and all Sri Lankan Tamils now abroad who want to return should be turned down. Furthermore any domestic Tamil political party who pushes the issue of Eelam must be dissolved and those promoting it be charged for treason and receive a death sentence.

    Dinithi Friday, 14 September 2012 12:44 PM

    This kind of statements help our cardboard patriot politicians. As a result people vote more for govt. And the poor UNP loses further.

    NISH Sunday, 16 September 2012 01:37 AM


    kumar Friday, 14 September 2012 01:03 PM

    Thank you Sir! for the understanding.

    Hussain Friday, 14 September 2012 11:40 PM

    Blake is not running this country. He should not put his nose into things he knows nothing about. We just overcame a horrible 30 years of terror and our government knows better what we should do to avoid it ever taking root again. S/L is a unitary State and its up to them to deploy its armed forces in any part of the State. Its nothing to do with USA . The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with 196,248 of its 1,414,149 active-duty personnel serving outside the United States and its territories.

    Hussain Saturday, 15 September 2012 12:12 AM

    LBJ. For the mere fact that we trade with the USA does not give it authority to dictate policy to us. We are an independent country & not a dependency of the USA. We should decide our internal as well as our external foreign policy and not be dictate to. According to your theory we trade China, India, Japan, South Korea etc. They do not come here to tell us what we should do. India is Sri Lanka's largest supplier, with imports worth $835 million in 2002. Japan, traditionally Sri Lanka's largest supplier, was its fourth-largest. Other important suppliers include Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea. The United States is the 10th-largest supplier to Sri Lanka.

    jay Saturday, 15 September 2012 10:54 AM

    USA Preaches things they can't practice

    Esala Friday, 14 September 2012 01:19 PM

    You already got result fom Libiya. Still not learn lessons putting fingers to others countries.

    Nodrog Friday, 14 September 2012 12:56 PM

    Thats rich coming from a country that has troops in several countries where they're not wanted and an abysmal human rights record.

    Dharmasena Saturday, 15 September 2012 12:25 AM

    Any imbeciles here ever remembered how your government went on their four legs with their pants down asking all western countries including the U.S to ban LTTE??? At that point you all lost your right to say we will take care of our problems :-)!!

    Nodrog Saturday, 15 September 2012 12:27 AM

    Monies provided as a loan which we have to repay does not give you the right to interfere in the internal policies of this country. Strategically you need us as a regional ally otherwise you wouldn't bother to assist us. So you get lost!

    By the way its spelled 'douche bag'

    Ananda D Friday, 14 September 2012 01:13 PM

    Mr. Blake, please retire from your post. It is time you went back to USA and spent your time in retirement, without meddling in affairs in other countries.

    Pundit Saturday, 15 September 2012 12:57 AM

    Please make way the USA is here.We are
    now to bow to it's opinion.Fear not, if
    President Obama is gone we will probably hear
    a different story.Hillary Clinton does
    not like us particularly.If anyone does not
    listen to her sanction will be given, and
    nobody wants that.Let democracy rule, we really do not
    want freedom of choice. Do we?

    Nadarajah Perumal Friday, 14 September 2012 01:13 PM

    This is the Sri Lankan forces in Sri Lankan soils. What the hell Americans are doing in foreign counties having their forces deployed such as in Korea, Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and may other parts of the world. Ask the fellow to fly a kite.

    Capt America Friday, 14 September 2012 01:29 PM

    Mr. R O'B, from North to East to West to South is still in Sri Lanka, an independent soverign country. As a nation as a Government she can deploy her forces anywhere within her boundaries. What right do you have to comment on that? and along the same lines you should also say that there is too much military presence in Western province and should be withdrawn. Ahh the value of lobbist money. Dont you think the world is a worse place with US meddling, Iraq, Libiya Pakistan etc etc.
    Get a life mate, save tax payer's money and stay home!!!!

    Modapala Friday, 14 September 2012 01:22 PM

    Mr Bobby, may I remind you that north is part of Sri Lanka, and we Sri lankans will decide how and where we stationed SRI LANKAN troops.

    Thank you !

    Lobo Sunday, 16 September 2012 06:21 AM

    Stop this racism. No such thing as 'tamil' property. It belongs to all sri your brothers in Sea Street, Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya.

    Upul Friday, 14 September 2012 01:48 PM

    Are we staying until which country to say to implement of LLRC ? Somebody must be ( even form heaven ) to monitor the progress . Then Only they are implemented we can have experiences of so many commissions , reports surfaced recent past in Sri Lanka. How may of them has been implemented ?

    MagodisThuma Friday, 14 September 2012 01:51 PM

    Mr Blake Gini Penellen Betakee Miniha Kalamediriontah Bayai !

    Naman Sunday, 16 September 2012 06:22 AM

    Well said.
    This is the argument put forward by some of the Ministers etc .
    If Americans can kill civilians in Iraq, why can't the Sinhalese do in Sri Lanka.

    Naman Sunday, 16 September 2012 06:36 AM

    The responses of the Sinhalese indicate that Tamils in Sri Lanka will NEVER get justice.

    DUWI Friday, 14 September 2012 01:42 PM

    Go back

    meranchi Friday, 14 September 2012 01:35 PM

    mind your business let alone srilanka your advice did not require ....

    Amila.G Friday, 14 September 2012 02:10 PM

    Mr. Blake , We were able to eradicate terrorism because the MR administration did not listen to the west. Now do you think they will . I don`t think so. ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY.

    patriot Saturday, 15 September 2012 03:27 AM

    please talk to defence secretary Gota , he is the man doing everything in north , beleive me or not !

    Naman Sunday, 16 September 2012 08:52 AM

    Keep the military in the Barracks and the Police to do the patrolling the roads in the North.
    The mentality of security forces towards Tamils need radical change. Need to respect the Tamils and give them space to live peacefully

    Lanka liar Friday, 14 September 2012 02:57 PM

    Yea you are right. If Pol Pot and Hitler could murder why not the Sri Lankan government. Typical Sri Lankan argument. We call this Lanka talk or Lanking.

    nicky karunarathna Saturday, 15 September 2012 04:16 AM

    If SL has guts, ask this idiot to mind his own business without intefering internal matters of the country. There should be limit of tolerence to this type of lunatics. They have garrison the entire planet on the ground and the skies aslo fully engaged by their drones. They think only fools live in SL. Show this idiot where to get off!

    Lanka liar Friday, 14 September 2012 02:58 PM

    That is Sinhala - the official language of Lies, no body takes it seriously even if you say Good Morning.

    Lanka liar Friday, 14 September 2012 02:59 PM

    Yea we are governed by China India and Pakistan

    Rajkumar Friday, 14 September 2012 03:23 PM

    Good call. Since there is no LTTE or any other perceivable threat there is no need for the military presence in the North and the East at all. The Forces numbers must be reduced to the pre-war levels all over the island. We don't need a police state or a military state. We need a humane state. People must live and enjoy a life. They don't need to live under threat of any kind.

    Vas Friday, 14 September 2012 03:31 PM

    Well Said Blake Sir

    Aralia Friday, 14 September 2012 03:33 PM

    Blake wants the Sri Lankan forces to withdraw from Sri Lanka.

    The western world and the Americans have invaded, almost all the countries in the world, at different times, and we SriLankan's have never invaded any other country in the world. Now they want us to withdraw from SriLanka. What a JOKE!!!!

    When you are a rich country, you can bully any one!!

    Coonghe Friday, 14 September 2012 03:37 PM

    Less milatary more tigers that"s the need of Americans

    edwinneil fernando Friday, 14 September 2012 03:40 PM

    hey bloody u s a mind your own business open your eyes and see what happened libya and egypt learn a lesson from them

    Nodrog Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:10 AM

    Saskiam, small groups backed by TN are slowly gathering with the hope of causing more chaos and mayhem. This needs to be closely monitored and not allowed to get off the ground.

    ravi Sunday, 16 September 2012 12:09 PM

    you are not barred to have your base in maldives, Nauru, even India, Pakistan, US and China, If you have that guts.

    Nodrog Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:18 AM

    LBJ, typical American comment made out of ignorance. Nothing gives you the right to interfere in another country's affairs. See the troubles caused by your 'assistance' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan........Anyway with the emerging economic giant China, your biggest investor, the US will no longer be the only super-power.

    dilhan Friday, 14 September 2012 04:00 PM

    Robot Belakkayata mona puke amaruwakda danne

    ravi Sunday, 16 September 2012 12:29 PM

    ho you are claiming that those sinhalese having green Cards are doing the same as you think.

    sun Friday, 14 September 2012 03:56 PM

    Go home man... This is our country , will take care our matters.

    Lobo Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:30 AM

    If not for the presence of the Army you guys would kill each other to grab power. You think the situ would be as peaceful if not for the Army?

    Lobo Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:35 AM

    LBJ what a narrow-minded and un-civilized comment which only typifies the crass mentality of barbarians, such as yourself.

    willows Friday, 14 September 2012 11:05 AM

    when USA increases military in other countries, why are you asking us to reduce the military in North???

    ruwan Saturday, 15 September 2012 03:26 PM

    US assistance to Sri Lanka is limited to handful millions of dollars. Less than ten. Even that were used promote their agendas in indirect manner. US has made us to loose lot more by aiding terrorism in here.

    Russell J. Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:40 AM

    Mind your business.We know why you need to reduce the Military in Nothern and Eastern.This is a National Security Matter.You can visit but no need to advice us what to do.../.

    Lobo Saturday, 15 September 2012 05:22 AM

    See the situation in Iraq and Libya where groups are fighting and killing to be in power. A similar situ could prevail in Jaffna but for the presence of the army.

    RuwanL Friday, 14 September 2012 11:10 AM

    That is not your business as we are not governed by the US! You are out of line! get lost!

    peeda mossa Friday, 14 September 2012 11:12 AM

    Consider yourself lucky that you are not in Libya, RO'B !

    Ravi Friday, 14 September 2012 04:54 PM

    Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, it is easy for you to say reduced military presence in North and East. Where can they be deployed then? Sooner or later this will become a big issue affecting the country progress.

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