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* Sri Lanka rejects unsubstantiated US allegations of weakening rights and rule of law
Sun, Feb 2, 2014, 09:52 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 02, Colombo: Sri Lanka today flatly rejected the allegations made by the United States that the human rights and democracy in the country as well as the rule of law are weakening as "patently unfair".

Alleging the US is attempting to divide the country and strain the sensitive reconciliation process Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said the concluding remarks by the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, at the end of a two-day visit yesterday suggested that she wanted to believe the worst of the regime in Colombo.

The Minister said that it is clear from the visits by Biswal and other US representatives and the remarks made by them that there is a preconceived desire to believe the worst of the government and build on that to justify punitive action against the country.

The Government said Sri Lanka is a sovereign state and one of oldest democracies in Asia and will not allow the international community to dictate the country's affairs.

Biswal, who just concluded a three-day visit to the country today, said that Sri Lanka has shown little progress in reconciliation and addressing accountability in the five years after the conflict ended and the international community's patience is wearing thin.

In justifying the US move to bring a third resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session in March, the visiting official said the US was concerned about the human rights situation as well as the weakening of the rule of law and there is a growing frustration in the international community that Sri Lanka will not use the opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward.

Professor Peiris said her observations were based on unsubstantiated allegations and the treatment of Sri Lanka by the US is highly selective and patently unfair.

Responding to Biswal's concerns on growing religious intolerance and attacks on places of worship, the Minister said these incidents are isolated incidents among different communities and attributing blame to the government is unwarranted. The US is giving credence to isolated incidents as a regular occurrence, he added.

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