Operate within the constitution

The United States called Friday on all sides in Sri Lanka to operate within the constitution and refrain from violence as the president’s sacking of the prime minister triggered a crisis.

Washington also urged the island to move forward on post-war reconciliation after President Maithripala Sirisena installed as prime minster Mahinda Rajapakse, a former strongman who crushed the decades-long Tamil Tiger uprising but refused to acknowledge abuses.

“We call on all parties to act in accordance with Sri Lanka’s constitution, refrain from violence and follow due process,” the State Department said on Twitter.

“We expect the government of Sri Lanka to uphold its Geneva commitments to human rights, reform, accountability, justice and reconciliation,” it said.

After Sirisena’s election in 2015, Sri Lanka shifted from confrontation to conciliation with the United States and other Western powers and promised at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to investigate allegations of abuses during the bloody civil war.

Rights groups say that Rajapakse’s final push in 2009 that defeated the Tigers — a group known for its devastating suicide bombings — killed up to 40,000 civilians from the Tamil minority.

Sirisena sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday after growing feuding, but critics said the president had no constitutional power to do so. (AFP)

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