July 05, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government through diplomatic channels has protested the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funding a project supposedly aimed at enlightening the Sri Lankan public on election systems and voting rights.
In response, USAID has decided to suspend the 'Election Support through Voter Education (ESVE)' programme, reported BBC Sinhala Service.
A government spokesman told state owned Silumina newspaper that the programme is aimed to mobilize people against the government in the guise of educating the voters.
USAID has reportedly planned to provide Rs. 190 million for the project and called for applications from non-governmental organizations to carry out the project.
The cabinet of ministers has discussed the project during the cabinet meeting on Thursday and decided that it is interfering in internal matters of the country.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris had reportedly summoned the U.S. Ambassador Michel Sison and discussed the issue with her.
The U.S. Embassy and the USAID had not officially commented on the withdrawal of the project but the USAID in an e-mail has informed the non-governmental organizations that it will no longer accept proposals under the project.