Punish the war guilty, US tells Sri Lanka

Colombo: A top American official on Friday asked Sri Lanka to carry out a credible investigation of "outstanding and serious allegations of human rights violations" and punish the guilty.

Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake made the demand at a press conference here after introducing Michele Sison, the new US ambassador to Sri Lanka.

A former US ambassador in Colombo, Blake said he met leaders of the Sri Lankan government, including Defense Secretary Rajapaksa and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), besides the civil society.

He said he discussed the importance of progress in reducing the role and profile of the military in Sri Lanka's north and "full respect for human rights".

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Reuters

"On accountability, it is our hope that three years after the end of the conflict, there can be a credible and transparent investigation and prosecution of some of the outstanding and serious allegations of human rights violations, as well as progress on the missing.

"I also urged that the Northern Provincial Council elections be held as soon as possible and encouraged an early resumption of talks between the TNA and the government to agree on powers to be devolved to provinces."

The defeat of the Tamil Tigers in 2009 has triggered widespread charges of human rights abuses over the deaths of thousands including civilians. Colombo denies innocents were killed by the military.

Blake also called for "accelerated progress" to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the National Action Plan.

The US is the largest single export destination for Sri Lankan goods.

Blake said the two countries also have "a strong partnership in counterterrorism and maritime security. We have worked closely together on issues such as demining and support" for the war displaced.


Updated Date: Sep 14, 2012 18:31 PM

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