US not satisfied with Lanka's explanation on removal of CJ



Washington: The United States has said that it was not satisfied with the explanation given by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha's government on impeachment and removal of the country's chief justice.

"We are obviously in contact with them. I would not say that the explanations are satisfactory in terms of protecting democracy," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

Rajapaksa sacked the country's first woman Chief Justice, 54-year-old Shirani Bandaranayake, last week by ratifying her controversial impeachment by Parliament on corruption charges despite protests at home and global calls for restraint.

However, in bilateral assistance for Sri Lanka, she said, it is too early to say what impact this incident would have.

"It is too soon to say what impact the actions will have on our foreign assistance for Sri Lanka going forward," she said in response to question.

"The US Government assistance for FY-2012 for Sri Lanka was USD 27 million. This included USD 13.3 million in bilateral assistance programs which primarily related to peace and security, human rights, economic growth, and democracy programs. We have a 2013 request for USD 16.5 million for Sri Lanka," she said.

A day earlier, voicing concern over the impeachment and removal of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, she said that this undermines the international reputation of the island nation.

"This entire issue serves to undermine the international reputation of Sri Lanka as it pertains to investment decisions that foreign companies might make. So you know, there is usually a cost to this kind of thing in terms of their ability to track foreign investment," Nuland said.

"We had made clear throughout this impeachment that we were concerned about what it said about the democratic process, that we were concerned about the perception of reprisals against somebody for independent thinking and action. So those concerns remain with regard to the quality of Sri Lankan democracy," the Spokesperson said.

PTI