Third consecutive US resolution targeting SL:
Consultations in London after US official’s Jaffna visit



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Senior British officials dealing with the LTTE based in the UK will meet US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal early next week in London as they step up pressure on member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to back a third US resolution targeting Sri Lanka since 2012.

Biswal, an American of Indian origin is expected to be in London on Monday (Feb. 1).

Assistant Secretary Biswal will fly to London from Colombo after having completed a three-day assignment here. She is expected to meet senior government as well as Tamil National Alliance (TNA) representatives and visit Jaffna before leaving for meetings in the UK as well as Geneva.

Government sources alleged that India was being pushed by both the US and the UK to back the forthcoming resolution. India backed the two successful US resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

The US State Department announced that Assistant Secretary of State Biswal would focus on a range of bilateral issues, including post-conflict resolution, justice and accountability during her first visit to Sri Lanka. Discussions in London and Geneva would center on the proposed third resolution which was to be built on previous resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

The 47-member body is divided into five groups namely Africa (13 seats), Asia-Pacific (13 seats), Latin America and Caribbean (8 seats), Western European and other states (7 seats) and Eastern Europe (6 seats). Members of the council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for not eligible for re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The US embassy spokesperson told The Island that Assistant Secretary Biswal would address the media in Colombo on Saturday afternoon.

Biswal recently succeeded Robert O. Blake, the war-time US Ambassador in Colombo credited with an initiative which led to the US providing the intelligence leading to destruction of four LTTE floating arsenals on the high seas.

GoSL sources told The Island that various Diaspora groups too, were campaigning in support of the US-led resolution with the UK based British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) pressing foreign governments, separately.

A senior External Affairs Ministry official told The Island yesterday said that Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Chris Nonis would attend a conference at the British parliamentary complex today (January 31)  organized to discuss alleged Sate takeover of land belonging to Tamil speaking people in the Northern Province. A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is in the UK for the conference jointly organized by the BTF and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T).

Members of the UNHRC are Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Namibia, Peru, South Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Sources said that the UK was trying to convince Commonwealth member states serving the UNHRC to vote for the US resolution. Although the British faced somewhat difficult task, EU members would vote together against Sri Lanka, they said, adding that Sri Lanka was in the process of making representations to member states. President Mahinda Rajapaksa already sent special envoys to several countries seeking their support at the next vote.

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