The former US Ambassador in Sri Lanka declared that it wasn’t important to meet the UNP leader.The US official was responding to a query fired at him at the VIP lounge of the Bandaranaike International Airport. Ambassador Blake was leaving Colombo after informing the government that the US would throw its weight behind a resolution targeting Sri Lanka, at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.
Sources said that Ambassador Blake’s position wasn’t surprising, in the wake of recent political developments in Sri Lanka, with the UNP being sharply divided over the leadership issue. A recent statement attributed to Wickremesinghe that a section of the Colombo-based NGO community was making an effort to undermine his leadership in support of those trying to oust him, too, could have antagonized the diplomatic community.
Blake was accompanied by US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Maria Otero. She oversees and coordinates US foreign relations on the spectrum of civilian security issues across the globe, including democracy, human rights, population, refugees, trafficking in persons, rule of law, counter-narcotics operations, crisis prevention and response, global criminal justice and countering violent extremism.
The US delegates met the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the one-time LTTE proxy and NGOs to discuss moves to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal.
Government sources claimed that the US probably felt that it didn’t need the support of the beleaguered UNP leader to pursue the on-going campaign on the human rights front.
By Shamindra Ferdinando