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.

Click here for the Full Speech

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

06 October 2007


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