G. L. Peiris rejects comments made by the US Assistant Secretary of State

GL 3   External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris rejected comments made by the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, following her visit to Colombo and Jaffna.

Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris said remarks by Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, “Her observations are indicative of a mindset that solely wants to believe the worst and enthusiastically leaps to conclusions based on tendentious claims,”

The Ministry has said that it is evident from Biswal’s visit and that which preceded from the US, as well as intrusive behaviour by other representatives of that country, that there is a desire to believe the worst of Sri Lanka and seek to build on that premise to justify punitive action against the country.

The Government says as a sovereign state and one of Asia’s oldest democracies, Sri Lanka does not wish to be dictated to by others in the international community in the conduct of its internal affairs.

“The assertion that the US does not want to see Sri Lanka being left behind in Asia’s economic progress is patronizing.  As a country that faced a protracted conflict, Sri Lanka has already demonstrated economic resilience and a projection of sustained economic stability,” the External Affairs Ministry has said.

“In fact the latest allegation of religious intolerance repeatedly stated by the US appears to be in order to give credence to isolated incidents as a regular occurrence.  It is well known that many of the facilities for religious worship which have been targeted are those operating in violation of the guidelines governing the establishment of these places.

It has generally been found that these incidents have been a reaction on the part of the community resident in those areas. Attributing blame to the government is totally unwarranted.  While legal action has been taken with regard to some incidents, others have been settled amicably. Therefore, the criticism is grossly disproportionate and politically motivated,” the Ministry has added.

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