Continuation of US-Lanka ties underscored:
Prabha, Osama - world’s most ruthless terrorists
US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O’Blake:
*Support for Govt’s recovery efforts
*Alleged support for ‘regime change’
*Encouragement for reconciliation and peace
US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O’Blake yesterday declared
that Velupillai Prabhakaran and Osama bin Laden were two of the most
ruthless terrorist leaders the world has ever known.
‘Prabhakaran’s LTTE was one of the most ruthless terrorist
organizations in the world.
‘They are the two most ruthless terrorist leaders in history, he said
of Prabhakaran and Osama Bin Laden while addressing the media in Colombo
yesterday. Blake also said the US had continually supported Sri Lanka to
cripple the LTTE terror network.
He also debunked reports of the US’s alleged support for a regime
‘change’ in Sri Lanka.
“In my official meetings today I assured the Sri Lankan government
that the US is committed to a strong long-term partnership with Sri
Lanka and that reports of our alleged support for a ‘regime change’ have
no basis whatsoever,” Blake said.
He said he expressed support for the government’s efforts to recover
from its devastating civil war and encouraged further steps towards
reconciliation and a peaceful, united democratic Sri Lanka.
Earlier Blake met with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, members of the Opposition
and representatives of civil society. ‘I think the government has made
some positive progress and it is very important that this progress be
sustained, the US embassy quoted Blake as saying, in an official release
it issued to the media. It quoted him as pointing out that the Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was playing an important role in
the reconciliation process.
The commission has heard testimony from Sri Lankans from all regions
and ethnic backgrounds. It has provided a forum for individuals to bring
injustices to light and to express the personal tragedy and hardship
created by the war, the release added.
On the resettlement process he said, nearly all of the 300,000 IDPs
have been resettled from the camps with the remaining scheduled to be
resettled by the end of 2011, if not sooner.
On the demining process he said the military, with assistance from
several international demining organizations, and support from the U.S.
government, has cleared over 5 million square meters of mine-infested
land throughout the northern provinces of Sri Lanka. “Completion of
demining in Mullaitivu will allow most of the remaining IDPs to be
resettled,” he added.
The Sri Lankan government has reduced the number of High Security
Zones, further helping Sri Lankans affected by the conflict to return to
their homes and livelihoods, he further said.
The release quotes Blake as also saying, the government and Tamil
National Alliance had conducted several rounds of talks with another
round scheduled on May 12. “I expressed our hope that these talks can
result in a comprehensive agreement that can help Sri Lanka heal the
wounds of war and ensure that all Sri Lankans enjoy equal rights and a
future of hope and opportunity,” he said.
He noted: “I am encouraged that External Affairs Minister Peiris will
communicate soon with the UN Secretary General and by his statement that
Sri Lanka wants cordial relations with the Secretary General and his
On the death of Bin Laden he noted, “I accepted the congratulations
of the government for the death of Osama Bin Laden. His defeat is a
victory for the United States and for all human beings who seek to live
in peace, security, and dignity. His demise will ultimately make the
world a safer place”.
He said that he also had the chance to visit Kilinochchi and
Mullaitivu for the first time. “Both of those places were still under
LTTE rule during my tenure as ambassador, so I was particularly
heartened to see the progress and development that has occurred there,
and the results of some U.S. assistance programs”.
During his visit he said that he had the chance to hear of the
progress of demining programs funded by US in Kilinochchi and to meet
with students who are now back in school as a result of the demining. “I
participated in a ceremony in Kilinochchi where we distributed 4,000
water pumps to formerly displaced families. Those pumps will help over
17,000 families earn a living on their farms,” he added.