Reconsider ban on Army chief, Sri Lanka tells U.S.

Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Shavendra Silva oversees a military operation near Colombo on January 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka on Sunday said the U.S. should reconsider its decision to refuse entry to the island’s Army chief over his alleged war crimes and warned that relations were being “unnecessarily complicated”.

The U.S. on Friday said the travel ban for Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and his family was imposed over what it called credible evidence of human rights violations in the 2009 finale to the civil war.

U.S. Ambassador Alaina Teplitz was summoned by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Sunday, officials said.

He said Colombo was “disappointed” with the decision, the first against a Sri Lankan military officer.

“The Minister said this action unnecessarily complicates the U.S.-Sri Lanka relationship,” his office said in a statement shortly after the closed-door meeting.

Lt. Gen. Silva was unfairly barred on unverified allegations, Mr. Gunawardena added.

The Foreign Ministry quoted Mr. Teplitz as saying the U.S. would continue its cooperation with Sri Lanka, including in defence, despite the ban on Lt. Gen. Silva.

There was no immediate comment from Mr. Teplitz or the U.S. Embassy.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 8:04:21 AM |

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