Speech damages credibility of US role in SL peace, say Tamil Americans

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 January 2006, 15:34 GMT]
Tamil Americans in a letter to United States Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Lunstead, commenting on the Ambassador's speech on 9 January, and his subsequent clarification of 17 January, expressed concern that "his partisan message has done immense damage to the peace process and to the credibility of US role in it."

USAID-OTI-US Ambassador_TrincoThe Tamil Americans in their letter through Tamil Sangam, USA, observe that Ambassador's speech is "just one more example of his approach as US Ambassador in regard to the peace process, which has engendered a widespread perception among Tamils, at all levels, including elected representatives, that US policy is not only biased against them in their search for a just and enduring solution, but is insensitive even to their basic human rights and needs."

PDF IconLetter on Ambassador's Speech and Clarification

Tamil Americans in their letter also underscore his threat only to the LTTE and the Tamil people of US action: "we want the cost of a return to war to be high," and accuse the Ambassador of insensitivity to Tamil perceptions and suffering, and especially in linking that cost to a "more capable and determined SL military." They note that Tamils know only too well the high cost of war and the killings, disappearances etc committed with impunity by those forces in war. They also accuse the Ambassador of "being oblivious of the basic fact that the SL military is really and truly a Sinhala military."

They welcome at the same time his clarification of 17 January, acknowledging that blame for the deterioration lies with both the Government and LTTE.

In welcoming his reiteration of the Co-chairs call on the Sri Lanka Government to disarm the paramilitaries, the letter notes that the killings and counter killings associated with the paramilitaries have been the single most important cause of the escalation of violations of CFA since 2004. "It is incumbent on the US and co – chairs to insist that the SL Government take immediate and concrete steps to disarm paramilitaries. Such action by itself will quickly unwind the violence and CFA violations."

Tamil Americans welcome his clarification of his partisan "threat," that his comment was simply "to make clear that a war will be more costly and unsuccessful." However, they request that he "does everything he can to correct the perception of a “threat.”

The letter expressed serious concern about "an apparent disregard for Tamil lives," shown by the continued public silence of the ambassador about the widening and serious human rights violations by the military, admittedly often under provocation. There has no public comment even on the murder of Mr. Pararaj, or of any of the high profile and incidents like the execution like killings in Trinco, assault on Unversity students, and abusive mid night search of Tamil families in Colombo. They point out that "the ideals that US stands for demand" that he speak out.

Related Articles:
20.01.06   "The Tamils are getting a lesson in realpolitik"

External Links:
USembassy: Peace and Prosperity: US policy goals in Sri Lanka 2006


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