GR tears into US Embassy over PC polls statement


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the US Embassy in Colombo was pursuing a political agenda extremely detrimental to Sri Lanka’s interests.

Although the government was doing everything in its power to restore democracy following three decades of war, the US embassy was all out ot undermine it, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said. He was responding to a US statment issued in the immediate aftermath of Provincial Council elections in the Central, North Western and Northern regions.

The US Embassy said: "A process free of violence and intimidation in the Northern Province is required for greater civilian administration and to help further the reconciliation process four years after the war. These elections provided a starting point for that process. Democracy is not simply about elections, however, and more must be done to ensure that Sri Lankans of all communities can live with peace and dignity that they deserve."

The Defence Secretary said he hadn’t ever come across an assertion which was as unfair as the one that democracy was not simply about elections. "We are a multi-party country. As all know, even at the height of the war, Sri Lanka conducted elections. It is nothing but unfair to blame the UPFA merely because those in the South backed by the US Embassy here cannot win elections at any level."

The Defence Secretary said that some bankrupt political parties, too, had echoed the US Embassy.

Recalling America’s and some European countries’ criticism of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which did away with the presidential term limit, the Defence Secretary pointed out the recent overwhelming victory achieved by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to secure an unprecedented third term. Would anyone dare challenge the German Chancellor’s right to lead the country for a third term having won the people’s mandate, the Defence Secretary asked.

The Defence Secretary said Sri Lanka had lost over 6,000 officers and men fighting the LTTE during eelam war IV. Of them, over 3,000had sacrificed their lives on the northern and Vanni fronts from March 2007-May 2009.

The Defence Secretary said that Western powers had kept mum when the LTTE and its proxies ordered Tamil speaking people to boycott the presidential election on Nov. 17, 2005."The TNA would still have been a prisoner and a TNA-run NPC would never have become a reality if Prabhakaran had survived the war."

The first ever Northern Provincial Council polls were meant to facilitate the post-war national reconciliation process, the Defence Secretary said, stressing that it would be a serious mistake to misinterpret the TNA’s overwhelming victory at last Saturday polls to promote separatist sentiments.

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