FOREIGN MINISTER BOGOLLAGAMA SAYS US CONGRESS
AMENDMENT "UNREASONABLE" AND COULD ULTIMATELY
CONTRIBUTE TO PROVIDING A "LIFELINE" TO THE LTTE
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said
the recent amendment proposed to the Department of State Appropriation
Bill for the Financial Year 2008 that introduces restrictions
on defence cooperation with Sri Lanka on account of alleged human
rights related issues, was "unreasonable" and will ultimately
contribute to providing a "lifeline" to the LTTE at
a time when it is under considerable pressure - both within Sri
Lanka following the clearing of the East, as well as in the U.S.,
the U.K., France, Canada and Australia, where several of the LTTE
leaders are under arrest.
Minister Bogollagama, who had earlier this week
met with a number of Congressmen and Washington based representatives
of human rights organizations and representatives of the U.S.
administration, to lobby against the proposed amendment, made
these observations when he addressed a gathering of policy makers,
academics, and Sri Lanka watchers at a lecture titled "Sri
Lanka looking beyond terrorism: A Road Map to Peace" at the
School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
in Washington D.C. on 4th October 2007.
The Minister, who outlined the challenge faced
by Sri Lanka due to LTTE terrorism and the significant support
received from the US in meeting this challenge, outlined Sri Lanka’s
“road map” to overcoming the present difficulties.
He said at a time Sri Lanka was vigorously pursuing a strategy
to arrest human rights abuses and to find a negotiated political
settlement, the proposed amendment was "unreasonable".
Noting that much of the allegations made were based on disinformation
and misinformation, he said some of it was wrong, while much of
it is based on dated information. He also noted that it also ignores
the fact that if Sri Lanka is to fail in containing and finally
defeating the terrorism of the LTTE, given the LTTE’s well-known
links to other terrorist organizations, its contribution to "copy
cat" terrorism, maritime capability and nascent air capability,
that the possibility of the LTTE becoming an increasing international
threat must not be discounted.
The Minister went on to provide detailed information
to refute the allegations made in the amendment.
here for the Full Speech
Embassy of Sri Lanka
06 October 2007