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* Sri Lankan government lodges strong official protest at US allegations
Sat, Jan 11, 2014, 09:43 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 11, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has lodged a strong official protest at the allegations made by the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen J. Rapp.

The government has expressed its strong protest against a message posted by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo on its official Twitter page which said that hundreds of civilians were killed in the North by the Army shelling during the final stages of the war.

Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunathilaka Amunugama said that Minister Prof. G L Peiris had conveyed Sri Lanka's dissatisfaction when he met with the visiting US Ambassador-at-Large yesterday.

The US Embassy Thursday on its official Twitter site posted a photo of the US Ambassador Michele Sison and the visiting Ambassador inspecting a site called "St. Anthony's Ground" with a caption that read "St Anthany's Ground - site of Jan 2009 killing of hundreds of families by army shelling."

Rapp, who is in Sri Lanka on a six-day fact finding mission, visited the former conflict areas in the North along with Ambassador Sison.

Photos of him visiting the Puthumathalan school and hospital in "No Fire Zone 2", and touring the site of former UN Headquarters in the "No Fire Zone" in Puthukudiyiruppu were posted on the U.S. Embassy official Twitter account.

An Information Officer for the US Embassy has told the local media that the tweets were sent on an official capacity and will not be removed.

Secretary Amunugama said the visiting Ambassador was told that the US had levelled such allegations without any basis.

Sri Lanka military, strongly rejecting the U.S. claim that the Army shelling had killed hundreds of families as completely baseless, said it could be part of a much larger campaign that the U.S. intends to launch in the near future.

The visiting U.S. official has meanwhile, assured the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, that the U.S. would move a third resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in March calling for an international probe on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, according to the TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran.

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