External Affair Minister G.L Peiris presented an action plan to U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on how the government plans to implement some of the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
U.S State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters following the meeting between Minister Peiris and Clinton on Friday in Washington that Secretary Clinton had encouraged a transparent, open, public process, not only on the LLRC, but also with regard to accountability.
Prior to the meeting Clinton told reporters that the United States strongly supports the process of reconciliation and reconstruction in Sri Lanka.
“We have very strong, important ties between our two countries. We were encouraged to see the end of a very long, bloody, terrible conflict, and look forward to working with Sri Lanka as they pursue their commitment to a better future for all the people. And the United States wants to be a supportive partner in those efforts,” she said.
State Department press briefing:
MS. NULAND: Secretary met this morning for about 45 minutes with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Peiris. The foreign minister presented a very serious and comprehensive approach to the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission’s implementation and the plans that the government has, including plans to make it more public and accessible both to Sri Lankans and to those outside Sri Lanka, what the government intends to do in the implementation realm.
The Secretary encouraged a really transparent, open, public process, not only on the LLRC specifically and its implementation, but also with regard to accountability; to strengthen reconciliation, public confidence inside and outside Sri Lanka in the process; and frankly, to speed the healing of the country. So she really – she said good plan, now you really need to make it public; now you really need to show your people, the world, the concrete implementation steps going forward.
She also stressed the importance, as she always does, of demilitarizing the north; of getting to the provincial elections in the north; protection of human rights, including protection of the press; and generally the creation of an environment that’s inclusive; engagement and the creation of space for civil society along the lines of what she talked about globally earlier in the week.
They also had an exchange on Sri Lanka’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Iranian crude, and we are encouraged by the steps that Sri Lanka has taken.
QUESTION: Can we follow up there?
MS. NULAND: Yeah, please.
QUESTION: Did – on accountability, did she refer specifically to prosecuting war crimes at the end of the war – the 40,000 civilians who died?
MS. NULAND: This is precisely what we mean when we talk about accountability in all of it.
QUESTION: I know, but how specific did she get about that? I mean, did she ask for —
MS. NULAND: She’s spoken in general terms, and then there were separate meetings with the delegation that Bob Blake had, that Mike Posner had, to go through the details.
QUESTION: Would you say that the percentage of time they spent speaking is roughly the same as their public appearance – in the private meeting?
MS. NULAND: No.
QUESTION: So it was roughly equal?
MS. NULAND: They were in public about 10 minutes and then they were in private about 35 minutes.
QUESTION: Well, of that – no I understand that.
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: But of that 10 minutes that they were in public, about eight and a half minutes was this foreign minister. Would you say that he dominated the private schedule?
MS. NULAND: No, no, no. It was a balanced conversation. No