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Government slams US, Nisha

2014 Feb 05

The Government, in a strongly worded statement, has slammed the United States and the concluding remarks made by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal following her visit to Sri Lanka.The External Affairs Ministry said that it is evident from Biswal’s visit and that which preceded from the US, as well as intrusive behavior by other representatives of that country, that there is a desire to believe the worst of Sri Lanka and seek to build on that premise to justify punitive action against the country.

The Government says as a sovereign state and one of Asia’s oldest democracies, Sri Lanka does not wish to be dictated to by others in the international community in the conduct of its internal affairs.

“The assertion that the US does not want to see Sri Lanka being left behind in Asia’s economic progress is patronizing.  As a country that faced a protracted conflict, Sri Lanka has already demonstrated economic resilience and a projection of sustained economic stability,” the External Affairs Ministry said.

In her concluding statement yesterday at the end of her Sri Lanka visit, Biswal had raised concerns over attacks on places of worship in Sri Lanka.

“In fact the latest allegation of religious intolerance repeatedly stated by the US appears to be in order to give credence to isolated incidents as a regular occurrence.  It is well known that many of the facilities for religious worship which have been targeted are those operating in violation of the guidelines governing the establishment of these places.  It has generally been found that these incidents have been a reaction on the part of the community resident in those areas. Attributing blame to the government is totally unwarranted.  While legal action has been taken with regard to some incidents, others have been settled amicably. Therefore, the criticism is grossly disproportionate and politically motivated,” the External Affairs Ministry said in it’s response.

Biswal had said that the patience of the international community on the human rights issue is wearing thin but the External Affairs Ministry says hey views are not accurate.

The Government says it more than any other entity, including short term visitors to the country, has the paramount interest of maintaining a peaceful and unified Sri Lanka. It says the action of a US spearheaded Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council runs completely counter to the position that country is motivated with an “inclusive vision” in this regard.

“It is well known that such action only serves to polarize the communities within Sri Lanka and outside, causing a strain on the sensitive reconciliation process. It also seeks to divide the international community, whereas keeping them in a cohesive group would serve Sri Lanka better through assisting in meeting the challenges,” the statement added.

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