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US keen to work with Lanka

2014 Jan 16

United States says it is interested in working together with the Sri Lankan Government on addressing human rights issues.
US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said this when asked to respond to comments made by the Sri Lankan Government that the US must reconsider its stand on the human rights issue.

“We’ve said we’re interested in working together on addressing these issues. Let me see if there’s an update from our folks,” Harf said.

The Government had this week urged the United States to reconsider its position on Sri Lanka and back efforts towards achieving reconciliation in the country.

Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said that instead of further polarizing the country, the international community, including the United States, must look at alternate mechanisms like encouraging a Truth Commission in order to see reconciliation being achieved in Sri Lanka.

Hakeem said that the US Government has a preconceived notion on Sri Lanka and this was clear even during the recent visit of the US Ambassador-at-Large at the Office of Global Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Rapp.

The Justice Minister said that digging for evidence to back war crimes charges on Sri Lanka will only aggravate the division among communities and not help reconciliation.

The United States had on Sunday urged the government of Sri Lanka to seek the truth over alleged human rights abuses through independent and credible investigations, and where relevant, have prosecutions.

The US Embassy in Colombo said that the Rapp, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, not only heard about the progress made since the conflict, but also the Sri Lankan people’s continuing desire for reconciliation, justice and accountability.

“During Ambassador Rapp’s discussions, he listened to eyewitness accounts about serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that occurred at the end of the war. In that context the government of the United States encourages the government of Sri Lanka to seek the truth through independent and credible investigations, and where relevant, have prosecutions,” the Embassy said.

The United States said it remains committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace and prosperity for all of the people of Sri Lanka adding that it is vital that all sides come to an agreement on events, have appropriate redress, and move forward as a unified country that upholds the rule of law and respects the principles of democratic governance. (Colombo Gazette)

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