US defence official presses Sri Lanka on war crimes, reconciliation

ECONOMYNEXT – A visiting senior American defence official has urged Sri Lanka to press ahead with a probe into alleged war crimes and for reconciliation between the ethnic communities.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for South and Southeast Asia Amy Searight discussed these issues during her three-day visit to Sri Lanka last week, the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

Searight stressed “the need for land returns, reconciliation and a credible transitional justice mechanism” in her talks with Sri Lanka’s Chief Defence Staff, and the three service commanders, it said.

She also discussed “future security requirements”, the statement said.

“During her visit, DASD Searight examined the future role Sri Lankan security forces could play in humanitarian assistance, responding to natural disasters, and increased participation in overseas peacekeeping operations.”

Searight had dinner with the Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva; State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene and Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne.

DASD Searight met with Defence Secretary Engineer Karunasena Hettiarachchi as well as Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara to discuss the Sri Lankan government’s efforts on security sector reform, as well as training and vetting personnel for United Nations peacekeeping operations. 
(Colombo/December 21, 2015)

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