US Congress amendment ‘unreasonable’ and could contribute to
providing a ‘lifeline’ to Tigers - FM
US: Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagma said the recent
amendment proposed to the Department of State Appropriation Bill for the
Financial Year 2008 that introduces restrictions on defence cooperation
with Sri Lanka on account of alleged human rights related issues, was
It will ultimately contribute to providing a “lifeline” to the LTTE
at a time when it is under considerable pressure - both within Sri Lanka
following the clearing of the East, as well as in the US, the UK,
France, Canada and Australia, where several of the LTTE leaders are
under arrest, he said.
Bogollagama, who had earlier this week met with a number of
Congressmen and Washington based representatives of human rights
organisations and representatives of the US administration, to lobby
against the proposed amendment, made these observations when he
addressed a gathering of policy makers, academics, and Sri Lanka
watchers at a lecture titled ‘Sri Lanka looking beyond terrorism: A Road
Map to Peace’ at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns
Hopkins University in Washington DC on October 4.
The Minister, who outlined the challenge faced by Sri Lanka due to
LTTE terrorism and the significant support received from the US in
meeting this challenge, outlined Sri Lanka’s “road map” to overcoming
the present difficulties.
He said at a time Sri Lanka was vigorously pursuing a strategy to
arrest human rights abuses and to find a negotiated political
settlement, the proposed amendment was ‘unreasonable’.
Noting that much of the allegations made were based on disinformation
and misinformation, he said some of it was wrong, while much of it is
based on dated information.
He also noted that it also ignores the fact that if Sri Lanka is to
fail in containing and finally defeating the terrorism of the LTTE,
given the LTTE’s well-known links to other terrorist organisations, its
contribution to “copy cat” terrorism, maritime capability and nascent
air capability, that the possibility of the LTTE becoming an increasing
international threat must not be discounted.
The Minister went on to provide detailed information to refute the
allegations made in the amendment.
Full text of speech