June 20, Colombo: Top U.S. and UN officials are currently visiting Sri Lanka and holding discussions with key Ministers and government officials on the current developments in the country.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Atul Keshap and the UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez Taranco have arrived in Colombo separately on official visits.
Assistant Secretary Atul Keshap, who arrived in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit, met the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Friday and held discussions at the ministry on various issues.
In his current role, Keshap works closely with Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to coordinate U.S. Government policy toward India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan.
Head of the Political Section in the U.S. Embassy Christopher Gunning, officials from the U.S. Embassy and Ministry of Economic Development also participated in the meeting with the Minister.
Keshap has also met with the representatives of the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today at the U.S. Embassy and the TNA has briefed the U.S. official on the latest developments in the country.
At that meeting the TNA had reportedly expressed its concerns over the military presence in the north saying that many of the IDPs are unable to get their lands due to the seizure of the land by the military.
Furthermore, the TNA delegation led by TNA leader R. Sampanthan has said that they cannot expect a meaningful solution to the ethnic issue from the government.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco also met Minister Rajapaksa on Friday.
Fernandez-Taranco arrived in Sri Lanka on a four-day visit starting from 19th June 2014.
During his visit he scheduled to meet key senior officials of the government and representatives of political parties.
Fernandez-Taranco is responsible, inter alia, for overseeing the regional divisions of the Department of Political Affairs working on the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and West Asia, as well as the Decolonization Unit and the Division for Palestinian Rights.
UN Resident Coordinator of Sri Lanka Subinay Nandy, Director for South-east Asia and the Pacific in the Department of Political Affairs of the UN Ms. Mari Yamashita, and senior officials of the Ministry of Economic Development also participated at the meeting with Minister Rajapaksa.
The UN official has also met with the He Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris and leaders of political parties including the TNA.
He is scheduled to visit Jaffna and meet the Northern Province Governor G.A. Chandrasiri and Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran.