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* Relentless pursuit by US would polarize communities further, Sri Lanka tells US official
Fri, Jan 31, 2014, 09:14 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 31, Colombo: The Sri Lankan Government today told a visiting top US official that relentless pursuit on Sri Lanka by the US through the United Nations Human Rights Council would only hinder the reconciliation and polarize the communities further.

Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris told the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal, when she called on the Minister Friday (31) that the US action against Sri Lanka has further strengthened the hardliners.

The Minister has told Biswal that the several factors including money, votes and power are operating behind the international elements against Sri Lanka and the progress Sri Lanka has made in a short time has not been acknowledged. He added that he was not necessarily referring to the US.

"There is a very strong perception of a lack of objectivity and impartiality on the part of the US, and a woefully inadequate acknowledgement of the developments that have taken place," the Minister has said.

The US official has stressed that the US has no hidden agenda and the US is compelled to take certain actions since there are certain stumbling blocks on its way towards reconciliation.

She said that there is growing frustration in the international community that Sri Lanka will not use the opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward.

The Sri Lankan Minister referring to the recent tweet by the US Embassy which said that the military shelled hundreds of families in the North said it was another example of how unsubstantiated claims make a huge effect on Sri Lanka's image.

He has said that there is an imbalanced focus on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council and the country has become a soft target.

Assistant Secretary Biswal has reiterated that the US is consistent with its position and wants to see the reconciliation process continuing. She has added that the US expects to maintain a positive relationship with Sri Lanka and build upon the existing cooperation in many fields.

Michele J. Sison, US Ambassador in Sri Lanka and Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs also participated in the discussion.

US Assistant State Secretary met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa before her meeting with the External Affairs Minister this morning. She was scheduled to meet Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in the afternoon.

She will also visit Jaffna and meet the Governor and Chief Minister of the Northern Province and Tamil National Alliance leaders.

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