Sri Lanka cautions US against imposing external solution

(PTI) Sri Lanka has cautioned the US against imposing any foreign solution to the issues concerning its people.

"We also realise that the process that we have in mind must be a domestic process. It can’t be donor-driven or foreign-owned. That will be unhelpful in implementing the reforms that are required at this moment in history," Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister GL Peiris said.

In his address to the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars a Washington-based think tank, Peiris said, "At the end of the day, the solution that everyone wants has got to have a home-grown element to it."

Peiris, who is here on his four-day official visit, said that Sri Lanka is adopting recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

He said the government recently initiated a process to put the commission’s recommendations to work in "a meaningful way".

The External Affairs Minister said that as many as 98 percent of the people displaced due to the civil war have been resettled.

Conscious of the fact that Sri Lanka has been on the receiving end of human rights organisations due to the alleged human rights violations during the last phase of the end of the civil war, Peiris during his meetings here and public appearances asserted Colombo has taken appropriate steps to address those concerns.

Peiris said Sri Lanka’s immediate goal after the conflict was the resettlement of those displaced by the fighting, as well as economic development to provide livelihoods and new infrastructure to the Northern region, which was "devastated by the atrocities of the LTTE."

"Ninety-eight percent of the people who were displaced by the conflict have been resettled. And they have not just been returned to their homes. We have seen to it that resettlement has occurred in an environment of confidence and satisfaction," he said.

Earlier in the day, Peiris met with Republican Senator John McCain, during which the two discussed the defeat of the LTTE, economic stability and reconciliation, there commendations of the LLRC and Sri Lanka’s relationship with both India and China.

During his meeting with Senator Jim Webb, Peiris noted that reconciliation is Sri Lanka’s main focus, along with the swift implementation of the LLRC’s recommendations acceptable to the government.

Peiris is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, later this week. In his address to the Woodrow Wilson Center, Peiris outlined Lankan government’s program to improve public services and regenerate important sectors in the Northern Sri Lankan economy, such as fishing and agriculture.

"We believe in reconciliation, but economic development is a crucial component of a wider reconciliation," he said.

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