Government accuses US of provocation

The Government has accused the United States (US) of provocation following the travel ban imposed by the US on Army Commander and Acting Chief of Defense Staff Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva.

Government MP Namal Rajapaksa said that the move will weaken bilateral relations with the US.

“The U.S. travel ban on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva is deplorable & based on unsubstantiated allegations. The ban on family members is needless provocation and these actions only weaken bilateral relations.” he said via Twitter.

“I’m sure #SriLanka’s friends will stand by us. @USAmbSLM @USEmbSL” Rajapaksa concluded.

On Friday (14), US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced that the US Department of State has designated Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, as required under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings, by the 58th Division of the Sri Lanka Army during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s Civil War in 2009.

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Sunday (16) formally conveyed to the US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz Sri Lanka’s strong objections on the imposition of travel restrictions by the Government of the United States of America on Silva and his family, and asked that the United States Government review its decision.

Ambassador Teplitz informed that she would convey the concerns of the Government of Sri Lanka to Washington DC, and reiterated the continued commitment of the US Government to all aspects of ongoing collaboration with Sri Lanka and to ensure its expansion, including in the field of defence. (Colombo Gazette)

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