- Asks Govt to come up with a meaningful plan at UNHRC
By Kelum Bandara
U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz, who commented on the development of the East Container Terminal of Colombo Port, said the involvement of an Indian company in this exercise was essential for Sri Lanka’s maritime future, obviously with India being the beneficiary of Sri Lanka’s port facilities or rather transshipment activities.
She said it was important to have the private sector involvement in this case, and Sri Lanka could look for the best in its economic arrangement.
She made these remarks during a virtual round-table discussion with a group of journalists. Responding to a query about China, she said partnerships between countries should be open, transparent and mutually beneficial and it was what the U.S. encouraged as far as Sri Lanka’s relations with China were concerned. Commenting on economic cooperation, she said there are some proposals for cooperation in the energy sector. Emphasising the need to ensure equitable treatment for all the companies that have put forward proposals in this regard, she said, “They are well aware that they need to respect the laws of Sri Lanka, tender and other procedures. I hope procedures are applied equitably.”
She said the U.S. companies could deliver cutting edge technology and green technology.
Besides, she urged the Government to carry forward the promises it had already made and come up with a meaningful plan at the next session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). She said the U.S. is interested in Sri Lanka’s commitments. She referred to Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardane’s reiteration last year that there would be a comprehensive reconciliation strategy through a domestic process.
“I would like to see some follow-through on that,” she said. She added that this was not a departure from the consistent policy of the U.S. in this regard.
Asserting that there is a degree of concern that there is not much progress on what everyone had hoped for, she said it was the reason for the U.S. and other countries to offer help to Sri Lanka. She said it was not bullying Sri Lanka but helping Sri Lanka to realise the pledges made by it to its people.
She also conveyed concerns about the mandatory cremation policy of Covid-19 victims and stressed the need to respect the faiths of all the communities in this regard.