US officials’ visit not related to recent events - Govt

US officials’ visit not related to recent events - Govt

January 20, 2013   01:55 pm

The scheduled visit of three US Deputy Assistant Secretaries to Sri Lanka next week was planned several months ago and has no connection to the resent event which had taken place in the country, the foreign ministry said.

Two Deputy Assistant Secretaries from the US State Department and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Defense Department will arrive in the country according to an annually devised plan, the Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr. Karunatilaka Amunugama said.

However, the government is prepared for bilateral discussions with the diplomats, he said while assuring that the visit has no connection with the recent event which had occurred in the country.

The US embassy in Colombo on Saturday announced that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman will travel to Sri Lanka and Maldives from Jan 26-Feb 1.

Certain media reports alleged that the visit, which comes in the wake of the impeachment of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice and the continuous tussle between the Maldivian government and ousted President Mohamed Nasheed, was scheduled amidst concerns of a breakdown in democracy in both countries.

Sri Lanka this week faced more pressure, including from the US and the UN Human Rights office, after the Chief Justice was removed and replaced following a controversial impeachment process.

The visiting Deputy Assistant Secretaries are scheduled to meet with senior Sri Lankan officials, members of various political parties as well as civil society to discuss a wide range of issues, including progress in implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations and National Action Plan.

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