Faizer urges review of US, Western position on SL


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha says US-led western military action directed at Libya highlighted the absurdity in their criticism of Sri Lanka’s war against LTTE terrorism. Mustapha, who holds the Technology and Research portfolio, says those who have been demanding a ‘war crimes’ probe, targeting the Sri Lankan political and military leaders, had unleashed a massive air assault on Libya in support of those fighting to oust the Libyan government.

In an interview with The Island, the Kandy District MP said that those spearheading the Libyan operation at the behest of the UN had taken an entirely different stand on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to annihilate the LTTE. Mustapha said that the West should review its position and throw its weight behind Sri Lanka’s post-war development and reconciliation efforts.

Commenting on the resounding victory achieved by the SLFP-led UPFA at the recently concluded LG polls, Mustapa said that it was nothing but a fresh endorsement of President Rajapaksa’s policies. But unfortunately, a section of the international community had extended its support to the LTTE rump and its allies.

Responding to a query, Mustapha regretted a recent statement attributed to former US Ambassador in Colombo Robert O’ Blake Jr, the U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. The statement made at the Asia Society in New York, on March 13, three days before the LG polls was evidence that even highly placed persons had been prejudiced by unsubstantiated allegations levelled against Sri Lanka.

What Amb. Blake had basically said was that economic prosperity and improvement to livelihoods wouldn’t help post-war national reconciliation unless those responsible for war crimes were punished, the MP said. The Ambassador’s statement should be studied against the backdrop of his successor Patricia Butenis’ assertion that President Rajapaksa and his brothers committed war crimes.

Mustafa said that he was surprised by the Ambassador’s criticism of Defence Ministry which was making an effort to improve living conditions in the city and its suburbs.

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