Sri Lanka politics and commentary

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

US blasted for meeting diaspora

By Mendaka Abeysekera, US Correspondent- Lakbima News

The government has lodged a strong protest with the US Department of State over
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert Blake’s recent meeting with pro LTTE activists, sources said.
Through the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC, the Sri Lanka government has very effectively registered its anger with the US Department of State and Robert Blake’s role regarding Sri Lankan affairs.
It is learnt that the government has clearly pointed out that so- called Tamil Diaspora groups are LTTE front organizations and that their activists are LTTE sympathizers.
At the meeting with Tamil Diaspora, Robert Blake guaranteed that persons in the US, who may be affiliated with the LTTE, unless they break US laws by providing material assistance, will not be allowed to be “prosecuted or persecuted’’ by Sri Lankan authorities.
The US State Department organized a Tamil Diaspora meeting at the department of state in Washington DC, on August 11.
Robert Blake and acting ambassador in Sri Lanka James Moore chaired the meeting with sixteen representatives of Tamil Diaspora groups, based in the US.
US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC), umbrella organization for Tamils Against Genocide, Americans for Peace in Sri Lanka, Federation of Tamil Associations of North America, HELP Advocates Sri Lanka, Ilankai Tamil Sangam, North Carolinians For Peace, People for Equality and Relief in Lanka, Tamils of California, Tamils of New England, Tamils of Ohio, and World Thamil Organization - USA, issued a statement after the meeting with Robert Blake and other State Department officials. According to that statement Robert Blake said that the US is a strong supporter of devolution of power in Sri Lanka and a measure of autonomy for the Tamils in the areas they predominate.
“The Sri Lankan President’s statement that a political solution would be looked into only after the presidential election in 2010 is disappointing’’, said Secretary Blake. “Political reconciliation will signal the real end to the conflict. Devolution and reconciliation are factors in the benchmarks set up to assess progress. The State Dept. sees the Tamil Diaspora as an important stakeholder for future reconciliation” USTPAC statement said.

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