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US eases restrictions on defense sales to Sri Lanka to include maritime surveillance

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has eased restrictions on defense sales to Sri Lanka to allow exports of equipment for aerial and maritime surveillance.The State Department enacted the changes Thursday, just as the U.N. Human Rights Council urged Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of war crimes during its civil conflict that ended in 2009.

The department said the two developments were unrelated.

It may, however, help ease strains in the bilateral relationship. The U.S. proposed the resolution approved by the U.N. human rights body.

The export restrictions date back to the start of the civil conflict in the 1980s. The new exceptions allow exports, on a case-by-case basis, of equipment such as unarmed patrol boats, light aircraft, cameras, and related components.


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