SL asks US to be objective

The Government yesterday expressed its dismay at what it termed as ‘the third consecutive attempt’ by the US to bring a resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris met Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal the visiting US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in Colombo. He told her that the public perception in Sri Lanka was that the US had not sufficiently recognized the country’s post-war achievements.

The minister said in that sense the US had not been objective and that the allegations against the Government on human rights issues had been accepted as ‘established facts’.   

Referring to the US embassy tweet from St. Anthony’s Playground in Jaffna that hundreds of civilians had been killed there he said it was a classic example of taking the allegations for granted, without proper examination.

The minister said this ‘highly selective treatment of Sri Lanka’ would not only affect the relationship between the two countries but also inflict further harm on the reconciliation process. He said the US action would polarize the society further instead of bringing it together.

“This is unfair by Sri Lanka. They pursue action on Sri Lanka because it is a soft target without any consequences,” he said.
The US has communicated that it will move a resolution on Sri Lanka. It has not been drafted yet. Ms. Biswal who arrived in the country, will travel to the North today for talks with Northern Provincial Council members including Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.

At yesterday’s meeting, Ms. Biswal said the US was consistent in its position that it wanted to see the Sri Lankan process continue. She referred to what she called “growing frustration” in the international community because of the fear that Sri Lanka would lose the golden opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward.

She also stressed that the US wanted to have a positive relationship with Sri Lanka and build upon the existing cooperation in many fields.
“But there is “growing concern” that the country is not moving past the wounds of war which might fester and give rise to renewed conflict and that no one in the international community wants that to happen,” Ms. Biswal said.

Emphasizing that the US had no agenda against Sri Lanka, she said the US was compelled to take up certain issues due to the values upon which it has been founded. She said the US has called for a Sri Lankan process to address the issues.

“However, there is concern that the space provided is not being adequately used by Sri Lanka,”
The minister, responded saying that the Sri Lankan people, more than others, would not want a resurgence of the conflict, as they would suffer the most in such a situation. That concern is uppermost in Sri Lanka’s mind and what Sri Lanka did to end the conflict needed political courage.(KB)

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