Shavendra’s lecture to Marines irks US Embassy


by Shamindra Ferdinando

 The US Embassy in Colombo has expressed concern over US Marines Corps inviting Sri Lanka Deputy Permanent Representative in New York Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva to deliver a lecture at the prestigious Marine Corps University in South St. Quantico, New York recently.

The lecture was conducted last week.

Well informed sources told The Island that the US Embassy had raised the issue with the State Department while asserting that the Colombo mission should have been consulted.

Maj. Gen. Silva holds ambassadorial rank.

Sources pointed out that the Marine Corps invitation couldn’t have come at a better time for Sri Lanka facing a second US resolution at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva targeting the country over accountability issues.

Former General Officer Commanding (GOC), the Army’s most successful fighting formation Task Force I/58 Division, was the first Sri Lankan armed forces officer to address the Marine Corps University. The Division, which fought on the Western front liberated Pooneryn in Nov. 2008 before turning eastwards.

The Defence Ministry gave the go ahead for the lecture as the government realized the importance of sharing Sri Lanka’s experience in defeating the LTTE with US forces. Sources said that Ambassador Silva’s primary message was that terrorism could be defeated.

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps University Foundation invited him to the annual presentation of Semper Fidelis award at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia. The prestigious award is given to a person who has demonstrated high principles and dedicated service to the US. This year’s recipient was Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.

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