US welcomes lifting emergency in Sri Lanka, reiterates its stance on a transparent investigation

Aug 26, Washington, DC: The United States, while welcoming the lifting of emergency regulations in Sri Lanka that was imposed during the decades-long war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists, reiterated its call on Thursday for Sri Lanka to conduct a transparent investigation into the alleged war crimes.

In response to a media query at Thursday’s press briefing the U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the U.S. sees Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposal to the parliament to withdraw the emergency laws as a positive step for the Sri Lankan people.

“It sets up a good visit for Assistant Secretary Blake, who will be talking to the to a broad cross-section of Sri Lankans, both to the government and to human rights groups and NGOs, about all of these issues,” Ms. Nuland said.

The U.S. State Department Yesterday announced that the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will arrive in Sri Lanka on August 29 for a three-day official visit.

The Spokesperson said Blake will meet with government officials, civil society representatives, university students, political leaders in Colombo, and he will also visit Jaffna, the Northern Province capital.

Ms. Nuland said the U.S. continues to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to meet its international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations.

“We continue to say that if they cannot do this nationally, then the international community will have to step in,” she added.

Assistant Secretary Blake is expected to discuss these issues during his visit.

When questioned about a recent statement by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S that none of the alleged atrocities were committed by his government, the Spokesperson said the U.S. stands by its reporting.

“We stand by the reporting that we have done, and we call on Sri Lanka to have a transparent, open, and accountable process,” the Spokesperson insisted.

The Sri Lankan government has said that its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa would investigate the alleged humanitarian law violations.

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