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MR want to brief US before UNHRC upcoming session; Cabinet discuss Clintan’s letter

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stressed the need to send a delegation to the United States of America ahead of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, to brief the leaders of that country on the measures taken by him to improve the human rights situation here, sources said today. 

The US government has already announced that they will support a motion against Sri Lanka at the next session of the UN Human Rights Commission scheduled for next month. Also, State Secretary Hilary Clinton recently invited her Sri Lankan counterpart to visit the US and counter the allegations made against Sri Lanka.

Governmental sources said that the issue was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. First, Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara queried about media reports in this regard.

The President noted that Sri Lanka should engage with the US ahead of the Human Rights Commission’ session.

“It is important for us to brief them about measures we have taken, and plans for the future,” he told the meeting.

However, Housing Constructions and Engineering Services Minister Wimal Weerawansa expressed reservations about such a diplomatic interaction with the US leaders at this hour. Mr. Weerawansa opined that  the US would not budge from its stand against Sri Lanka despite such a visit.

Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa reportedly intervened at this moment and said that it was not advisable for anyone to look at this issue from an extremist point of view.  He supported the President’s idea to send a delegation to the US at this hour.

Planation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe also supported the stand taken by the President. Besides, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake emphasised the need to secure the support of India at this hour.

“If India is with us, we can ward off the international pressure,” he said. 
(Kelum Bandara) Thursday, 02 February


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