While stating that Sri Lanka had made significant progress in implementing the LLRC report, through the National Action Plan (NAP), the US yesterday said the Budget 2013 that was presented recently was very encouraging as each government department was being given budget allocations to implement the NAP.
The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alyssa Ayres, who is currently on a visit to Sri Lanka made this comment.
She also e-emphasised US’s concern over the action taken to impeach the Chief Justice. The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alyssa Ayres who held a series of meetings with government officials, including Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem has indicated to the Sri Lankan government that the impeachment process was still a matter of concern for the US.
When asked about the US stance on the debate with regard to the 13th Amendment, she said devolution and the rights of the Tamil community remained a priority for the US government.
With regard to China’s increasing influence in Sri Lanka, Ms. Ayres said the US was only interested in its bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka. She said the US was the largest bi-lateral donor to Sri Lanka for resettlement of the IDPs and had recently granted US$3 Million to three organisations for resettling communities in Mullaitivu and Killinochchi districts.
She said the speed at which the Menik Farm was closed, respect for human rights, separation of the arms of government, tolerance within multi-ethnic societies and media freedom was a cause for concern for the US and this remained an ongoing issue.
During her visit she met External Affairs Minister G.L. Peries, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem and presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga.
She also met members of the UNP, TNA and civil society groups. Ms. Ayers also visited Puttalam. (Dianne Silva)