No threat of economic sanctions

The United States has dismissed fears in Sri Lanka of economic sanctions being imposed on the country in the event the U.S sponsored resolution is passed at the UN Human Rights Council this week.

U.S Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told the private television channel ETV that the purpose of the resolution is not to impose economic sanctions but to ensure the government impliments the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Meanwhile, separately Blake told the Wall Street Journal that some of the commission’s recommendations were sound—such as pushing the government to demilitarize Tamil areas and publish names of detainees—but even on these Sri Lanka has yet to take action.

“We think they’ve had quite a lot of time to develop an action plan and we’re disappointed they haven’t done so,” Mr. Blake said.

The U.S. resolution will ask for Sri Lanka to set a timeframe for implementing the recommendations of its commission, as well as calling for Colombo to allow a truly independent investigation of war crimes.

A panel appointed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in a report a year ago, also criticized Sri Lanka for failing to properly investigate war crimes and recommended an independent inquiry.

Sri Lanka deserves some credit for building schools and roads in Tamil areas, Blake said. “But much remains to be done to ensure that Tamils, especially in the north, can live in peace.”

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