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Time for lasting peace in Sri Lanka: U.S.

[Hindu, Thursday, 22 July 2010 07:20 No Comment]

Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asia Robert O. Blake called for faster re-settlement of the remaining war displaced Tamil civilians in the Northern Province as one of the immediate measures towards reconciliation in the post-war Sri Lanka.

In an informal talk with a group of journalists after a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, he said with the military defeat of the LTTE, the nation has a great opportunity to forge lasting peace and prosperity.

“Another key part of reconciliation is to ensure accountability for past wrongs. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had recently told Foreign Minister G.L Peiris that Sri Lanka’s Lessons learnt and reconciliation commission holds promise and we hope and expect it will fulfil that promise. A last pillar of reconciliation will be to advance democracy and human rights. Mr. Peiris affirmed during his visit to Washington that Sri Lanka wants to review and strengthen its institutions of democracy,” he said

The U.S. envoy said progress in implementing greater power sharing with the provinces, implementing the 17th amendment to empower independent commissions such as the human rights, police and bribery commissions and efforts to safeguard media freedom would all be important steps in ensuring an important step of peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans.

The visit and the comments of the envoy to the reporters assume importance in view of the recent rift between the U.N. and Sri Lanka over the decision of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a three-member experts panel to advise him on alleged excesses in the last phase.

In his interaction with reporters, Mr. Blake said there was some misunderstanding on the role of the U.N. panel. He felt that Mr. Ban appointed the panel to advise him about what might be done to help the Commission in Sri Lanka.

[Full Coverage]

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