No agenda against Sri Lanka: US

Last Updated: Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 23:03

Colombo: A senior US government official has insisted the US has no agenda against Sri Lanka but is compelled to take up certain issues.

Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, at a meeting with Sri Lanka`s Minister of External Affairs, GL Peiris, said Friday that there is "growing frustration" in the international community due to the fear that Sri Lanka might lose the golden opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward, Xinhua reported.
Peiris said the relentless pursuit of Sri Lanka by the US through the Human Rights Council will lead to polarisation of the communities in the country, which would negatively impact the very delicate process of reconciliation.

The Sri Lankan external affairs ministry quoted him as saying that US action against Sri Lanka has further strengthened the hardliners and there was a very strong perception of a lack of objectivity and impartiality on the part of the US and a woefully inadequate acknowledgment of the developments that have taken place.

Peiris said it was clear that the attention to Sri Lanka by the international community is not due to altruism or moral ethics but motivated by power, money and votes. He added that he was not necessarily referring to the US.

The US government is expected to submit a resolution on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March.
The resolution is expected to call for an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed during the final stages of the war between the military and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Biswal will remain in the country till Feb 2 and have discussions with government and opposition members and officials.

Following her Sri Lanka visit, Biswal will travel to London for meetings with officials from the British government Feb 3. Britain is to co-sponsor the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in March.

The US State Department said Biswal would also travel to Geneva for meetings regarding the US intention to sponsor the resolution on Sri Lanka in the March session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The resolution will build upon previous resolutions in 2012 and 2013 and will urge Sri Lanka to do more to promote reconciliation, justice and accountability in the wake of the civil conflict, the US State Department said.

Sri Lanka has been accused of failing to address alleged human rights violations during the final stages of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The rebels were defeated in May 2009 but human rights groups alleged that thousands of civilians were also killed in the process, an allegation the government denies.

IANS

First Published: Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 23:03

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