The United States has worked with India throughout the process on the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Obama Administration’s point man on South Asia has said.
“We worked very closely with India throughout the process and we indeed welcomed some of the changes that India made,” the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, told the BBC Sinhalese service in an interview.
“So we were quite satisfied with the cooperation that we had with India, and I think going forward it will be very important for all of the international community to continue to work with India to encourage progress, since India has quite a lot of influence on the island,” Mr. Blake said.
A transcripts of the interview taken on March 21 was released by the State Department yesterday. “We consulted closely throughout the entire process,” Mr. Blake said when asked if India propose any amendments at the last moment.
Mr. Blake refuted the impression that the US-sponsored resolution that passed through the UNHRC was toned down because of Indian influence.
“I reject that premise. I don’t think that it was toned down in any way. I think it remains a very fair and balanced text that again reaffirms that Sri Lanka had to take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability,” he said.
Noting that the resolution underlines the importance of Sri Lanka now taking meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability in order to move forward to achieve peace and prosperity on the island, he said the statement by the country’s military raises the skepticism of many that the government is prepared to do its own investigation.
Refuting the allegations that the US is trying to divide Sri Lanka, Mr. Blake said: “I would say that the United States and the international community are trying to reunite the country and that the way to do so, again, is to achieve reconciliation, to address the serious human rights abuses that continue to take place, and to move forward expeditiously on accountability.”
The US official said that the forward progress be made on important issues like holding elections for the Northern Provincial Council in the country that have been promised for September of this year.
“I think it’s important that they move forward on the dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance to achieve an agreement on devolution. And I think it’s important to address a lot of the serious human rights concerns that many people on the island have identified,” he said.