Sri Lanka outraged over purported US email

Sri Lanka expressed outrage over an email purportedly sent to member states of the human rights council by the U.S Mission in Geneva seeking support for a resolution on Sri Lanka.

The External Affairs Ministry quoted Tamara Kunanayakam, the Sri Lankan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva as saying that the email dated 21st February, purporting to have originated from the Mission of the United States to the United Nations and other International Organisations at Geneva, was signed by one Miriam Shahrzard Schive.

“This e-mail creates the impression that diplomatic officials of the U.S. have been in close contact with the Government of Sri Lanka, as well as this Mission, to work, collaboratively on issues of accountability (in Sri Lanka) and the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s Report. It goes on to express the hope that the Sri Lankan Government will work with us on this Resolution. It obliquely canvasses the position of a co-sponsorship of a Resolution and conveys a false impression that Sri Lanka is working with the United States on this Resolution,” the External Affairs Ministry said.

The External Affairs Ministry insisted that that at no time has the Sri Lankan government or it’s Mission in Geneva, ever worked with representatives of the United States on any Resolution on whatsoever.

“It is inaccurate and misleading to seek to create such an impression that Sri Lanka was consulted, has cooperated or in any other manner been part of such a process. Indeed, Sri Lanka has started on the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC, among other initiatives to secure peace, prosperity and reconciliation for our people, in the aftermath of the thirty year conflict against separatist terrorism,” the External Affairs Ministry statement said.

Sri Lanka says it has consistently maintained that it is unnecessary, unhelpful and counterproductive to bring any resolution concerning this matter barely two months after the publication of a report by a commission appointed by the Sri Lankan President known as the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission and more particularly in the context of implementation of its recommendations.

“We have continued to openly and comprehensively brief the international community in Geneva and elsewhere of all recent developments in this regard. Moreover we plan to inform the Council and its Membership of the current position as to all relevant matters during the forthcoming session of the Council – a practice that we will continue in the future,” the External Affairs Ministry said.

Sri Lanka says it is unfortunate that such an “unethical distortion” of the true position has been resorted to by interested parties who can only be pursuing some parallel agenda, seeking to achieve some collateral gain, given Sri Lanka’s commitment to engage constructively with its partners, its forthrightness in discussing issues pertaining to post conflict recovery and the realization of positive developments within its territory relating to reconciliation and development.