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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Is US threatening action against Lanka at UN in Geneva if presidential pardon is not given to Sarath Fonseka?

Shamindra Ferdinando
 The UPFA alleges the US embassy is increasingly interfering in domestic political issues, thereby undermine the government.  The SLFP-led coalition believes that the US is trying to cause a rift in the government over the imprisonment of defeated presidential candidate, former Army Chief, Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

The party was responding to US Ambassador Patricia Butenis taking up the issue with SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena in the wake of the conclusion of the ‘White Flag’ case.

Government sources said that a diplomat handling political affairs had met Minister Sirisena on behalf of Ambassador, Butenis, who originally sought one-on-one with the Healthcare Minister.

Minister Sirisena was told that the Geneva-based Human Rights Commission would be moved against the country unless a presidential pardon was given to Gen. Fonseka, whom the US categorized a political prisoner.

During the discussion, the US representative said that his country couldn’t financially back post-war development here due to financial difficulties experienced by the current administration.

Sources said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had discussed the issue with ministers.

Responding to a query by The Sunday Island, sources said that government was concerned about the US ambassador’s action. “But what we really like to know is whether Ambassador Butenis had obtained prior approval from Washington to press Lanka on this issue,” sources said.

Sources recalled a previous attempt also by the US to lure a serving senior military official to back an international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka. The government raised the issue with the US embassy, though it did pursue the matter. Sources said that the abortive bid had exposed clandestine US operation.

Sources said that a section of the international community was going out of its way to make a case against Sri Lanka to appease the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which did nothing to save Tamil speaking people from the LTTE. In fact, the TNA gave the LTTE a licence to kill by declaring terrorists as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people. courtesy: The Sunday Island



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