Sri Lanka warns US over leaked cables

SL warned the US to exercise greater circumspection` in its diplomatic cables about the situation in the country after a WikiLeak release claimed Colombo colluded with anti-LTTE para military groups which engaged in war-crimes.

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday warned the US to
exercise "greater circumspection" in its diplomatic cables
about the situation in the country after a WikiLeak
release claimed Colombo colluded with anti-LTTE para military
groups which engaged in war-crimes.

External Affairs Minister G L Peiris told US
Ambassador to the country, Patricia Butenis that Colombo did
not condone publishing the cables on WikiLeaks, but felt that
the contents of the documents were designed to discredit Sri
Lanka.

"The Minister expressed the view that at least where
future instances may be concerned, greater circumspection
would be appropriate," the ministry said in a statement.

It said the minister discussed the WikiLeaks
disclosures with the ambassador and showed her examples of
attempts to tarnish Sri Lanka`s image.

"He said that he is constrained however to point out
that the purported cables do contain glaring instances of
allegations totally unwarranted by the ground reality, being
conveyed to Washington.

"As examples, the Minister cited the claims of
children being sold into slavery, with the boys to work in
camps and the girls to prostitution rings.

The Minister emphasised that the conveying of such
mendacious stories clearly fabricated to denigrate Sri Lanka,
are totally negative to the objective of diplomacy, which is
building bridges and promoting understanding."

There was no immediate word from the US embassy here
which has earlier said that the leaked cable did not
constitute US policy.

However, in a leaked cable earlier this month, Butenis
is supposed to have told Washington that President Mahinda
Rajapaksa and his brothers and former army chief Sarath
Fonseka were among those responsible for alleged war crimes in
Sri Lanka.

In another leaked document last week, the former US
ambassador Robert Blake was quoted as saying that his
information from "trusted sources" was that Colombo colluded
with anti-Tiger Tamil para military groups.

Government forces defeated the Tiger rebels last year,
ending their decades long campaign for an independent
homeland.

The onslaught also triggered war crimes allegations
which Colombo denies. The External Affairs ministry said
Peiris also took up the question of a petition by US lawmakers
last week calling for a probe into war crimes in Sri Lanka and
told Butenis that it was unnecessary.

"The Minister went on to express the hope that the
US Embassy in Colombo and the State Department in Washington
would convey to the Senators and Congressmen, the need to
avoid being pushed by false propaganda towards the adoption of
a pre-judgemental attitude."

PTI

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