Responding to growing US, EU and UN criticism of victorious Sri Lankan forces over alleged war crimes in their battle against the LTTE, the government said that an attempt was now being made to undermine the Rajapaksa administration ahead of forthcoming elections.
The government said that this was an attempt to transform Sri Lanka’s successful war against LTTE terror to UPFA’s biggest liability in the eyes of voters in the run up to parliamentary polls by April next year.
But speculation is rife that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will call an early presidential election to take advantage of the destruction of the LTTE military machine.
The EU threat to withhold GSP plus facility thereby causing substantial loss in both revenue as well as employment was nothing but evidence of this destabilization strategy, ministerial sources said yesterday adding that EU would announce its final decision in November.
Sources said that an organized attempt to send boatloads of Sri Lankan Tamils to Australia via Malaysia and Indonesia as well as the bid to reach Canada too depicted Sri Lanka in bad light with the Tamil diaspora claiming people were fleeing as they were not safe.
They said that the SLFP called its annual convention for mid-November when the president is expected to announce his plans.
Military and UPFA sources said that a negative EU report on GSP plus issue revealed the identities of those who made submissions against the country. Among them are Sri Lankan NGO workers and journalists. Some of them had also contributed to a US State Department report which severely criticized armed forces’ conduct during the recently concluded war, they alleged.
Government sources said that almost all the Sri Lankans, who had made representations to both US and EU, were recipients of substantial overseas funds annually from several donors. They said that among them were those directly involved in the airing doctored ‘execution’ video showing Sri Lankan soldiers.
Sri Lanka should be grateful to the EU for revealing their identities, they said adding that the same group campaigned against Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last presidential election and were now was making a last ditch attempt to destabilize the government ahead of forthcoming polls.
Government sources said that some of them received foreign funds to carry out a propaganda campaign targeting Rajapaksa at the last presidential polls and this would be repeated at the next big election here.
Commenting on US-led call for war crimes probe in Sri Lanka, government sources said that President Barak Obama’s recent appeal against a court ruling requiring the release of photographic evidence of abuse and ill-treatment of prisoners held at US military facilities outside US territory was nothing but proof of double standards.
The US had asserted that the release of photographic and video evidence could endanger the lives of US personnel deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The CIA was also under investigation for torturing detainees, in some cases causing deaths while we were being lectured about human rights.
It was unfortunate the US continued to harass Sri Lanka after helping the country to defeat the LTTE. The assistance provided by the US definitely helped Sri Lanka to finish off the Tigers in two years and ten months, these sources said.
They added that joint training exercises were evidence of excellent bilateral relations revealing that the US had conducted such an exercise in the East even after the end of war last May.