By Vyshnavy Velrajh
Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance Mano Ganesan has questioned the motives of the United States (US) behind the recent travel ban imposed on Commander of the Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his immediate family.
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.
Speaking to the Colombo Gazette, Mano Ganesan defended the opinion expressed by United National Party Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa on the ban
“Imposition of a travel ban on Army Commander Shavendra Silva and his immediate family is regrettable and unfortunate. He is one of the heroic field commanders who spearheaded the national effort to eradicate terrorism. All of us stand by him and his family at this hour of need. As a country we shall always stand with the war heroes that brought about an end to 30 years of terrorism.” Premadasa had tweeted.
Mano Ganesan said various political parties and politicians have expressed their views on the matter, adding that the message Tweeted by Premadasa was his personal opinion on the issue.
Ganesan however said two things must be considered with regard to the ban on Silva and his immediate family by the US.
He said that further investigations must be conducted into the accusations raised against the Commander of the Army and determine its authenticity.
Ganesan also said that the timing of the travel ban is questionable as it has been announced during a pre- election period.
The former Minister pointed out that the US had previously attempted to submit a similar report to the Cabinet of Ministers of the former government too, close to the Presidential Election in November 2019, a move by the US that had backfired for the then government.
He added that however the announcement of the travel ban imposed during a pre- election period now on the Commander of the Army will work to the benefit of the current Government.
Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had yesterday (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)