By Gandhya Senanayake
The government responding to allegations made by British Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt after the airing of the Channel 4 documentary noted that at this crucial time what Sri Lanka needs from its friends is not threats but the space and support for restoration of what was lost over three decades and the opportunity to move rapidly forward towards reconciliation and economic development.
The government today noted that it regretted that” British Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt has taken no account of the Sri Lankan Government’s strong refutation of the suggestion that the Government of Sri Lanka deliberately targeted its own civilians, as alleged in the video.”
The Government of Sri Lanka responding to the allegations made by British Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt after the airing of the Channel 4 documentary stated that the documentary, like the Darusman Report, does no more than put together a sequence of events and images, to justify a conclusion arrived at in advance. And added that the origins of this footage have not been established, and no one has so far taken responsibility for its contents.
The government further noted that the Channel 4 documentary aired on the telecast on 14th June 2011 “is a mere collection of visuals previously aired through LTTE websites and a miniscule section of the international media, at the behest of parties with vested interests to undermine the present efforts at reconciliation and development taking place in Sri Lanka.”
The External Affairs Ministry stated that this matter has been put forward before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission which is scheduled to complete its work by mid-November 2011.
Commenting on the telephone conversation that took place between Minister Burt and Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L Peiris External Affairs Ministry stated that the Sri Lankan Commission is entitled to the space and time to complete its work.
Prof. G.L Peiris during his discussion has enlighten Minister Burt on the “significant progress that has been made in a variety of fields. These, he pointed out, include the demining of vast tracts of land, the resettlement of displaced persons, the reintegration into society of former combatants including child soldiers after exposure to programmes of training, the return to their rightful owners of lands previously included in High Security Zones, and the revival of the economy of areas affected by military operations and restoration of livelihoods of those who, for many decades, had been under the yoke of LTTE terrorism.”
The External Affairs Ministry as noted that, in the interest of transparency, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission invited INGOs who have been aggressively critical, to give evidence before the Commission, but this has been publicly rejected by these organizations. (Daily Mirror online)