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* High-ranking US delegation arrives in Sri Lanka to assess progress on reconciliation
Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 08:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 26, Colombo: A delegation of three high-ranking officials of the United States government arrived in Sri Lanka Saturday morning on a mission to mainly assess the progress on implementing measures recommended by the country's own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

The visit by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vikram Singh, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman seems significant as Sri Lanka is preparing to face the United Nations Human Right Council in March for a review on the country's progress on reconciliation in response to the UN resolution sponsored by the U.S. in March 2012.

During their seven-day visit to Sri Lanka and Maldives, the delegation led by James Moore will meet with senior Sri Lankan officials, members of various political parties as well as civil society to discuss a wide range of issues, including progress in implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations and National Action Plan, the U.S. State Department said.

Meanwhile, the government turned down a request made by the Sinhala nationalist Patriotic National Movement (PNM) affiliated to the National Freedom Front led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa not to let the U.S. delegation to meet representatives of the opposition parties and NGOs.

Local media reported that the General Secretary of the Movement Dr. Wasantha Bandara has said that certain opposition parties and NGOs were part of a conspiracy against the country.

The government has said that as a country that values democracy, it cannot impose restrictions on the U.S. delegation.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last March adopted a contested resolution sponsored by the United States to pressure the Sri Lankan government to take prompt measures to implement the LLRC recommendations and address the accountability issues.

India along with 23other member states of the UNHRC council supported the resolution against Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government prepared a National Action Plan on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations and presented it at the 14th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in Geneva last November.

The Action Plan has named implementation of recommendations according to activity, key responsible agency, key performance indicator and a timeframe for each task.

However, there is speculation that the U.S., not happy with the pace of the implementation of LLRC recommendations, is planning to bring another resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming UNHRC session in Geneva in March this year.



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