U.S. backs off from questioning Sri Lanka's Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka

Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not questioned Sri Lanka's Chief of Defence Staff, Sarath Fonseka.

A Press release on the Foreign Ministry website reads,

"The Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka left the United States this morning to return to Colombo. He was not subjected to any questioning prior to his departure by the United States Department of Homeland Security or any other agency of the US Government."

Sarath Fonseka was to meet with DHS officials on the 4th of November. There were reports that Fonseka was asked to give evidence against Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The Hindustan Times

Soon after the controversy broke, the Lankan foreign ministry had summoned the US ambassador Patricia Butenis to inform her that it would be illegal to quiz Fonseka. Butenis was told that information related to the war was ``privileged’’ and could not be shared with a third party without the government’s consent.

A similar representation was made to the US State Department in Washington, through the Lankan embassy in the US.

The Sri Lankan government’s arguments against Fonseka being quizzed seems to have worked and, at least temporarily, averted a diplomatic flashpoint between the two countries.
An interview on Radio Netherlands Worldwide titled, "Tamils welcome plans to question top Sri Lanka general," gives the notion that Tamils welcomed US plans to question Sri Lanka's Chief of Defence Staff. A closer look however at the interviewees will reveal that the organisations questioned did not represent Tamils, or Sri Lankans, but the Tamil Tigers.

I've written in the past on how various front organisations set up to serve the interest of the Tamil Tigers do not represent all Tamils. And organisations claiming to be for peace, equality, and relief almost always have their own political agendas. This is Sri Lanka. I've been here long enough to have seen it all.

Amjad Saleem was formerly the country director of Muslim Aid in Sri Lanka. He was involved in post tsunami and conflict reconstruction work from 2005 - 2009. He explains who is behind the push for war crimes investigations, boycotts, and sanctions against Sri Lanka after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

The Guardian

Elements of the Tamil diaspora, in particular, have been active in sustaining the conflict. Some are still trying to keep the cause alive by exerting pressure on the international community to instigate war crimes proceedings or cut back on trade subsidies such as the EU's generous tariff preference, the GSP+.

However, they fail to realise that this will not harm the government and will be detrimental to the overall development of the country. Cutting tariff preferences, for example, will affect industry – which will in turn affect the livelihoods of all communities. Ultimately, taking a government to task should be done through a normal democratic process, which can only work if all elements within the country work towards that goal. The focus now has to be on the future development of the country.
C. Bryson Hull from the neutral news agency Reuters says, "The Tamil Tigers are finished as a guerrilla fighting force, but there are still well-financed members of its international network out there and no shortage of Tamils raised on the LTTE's virulent propaganda who are furious at how the war ended."

To Sri Lankans it's clear that Tamils do not want a war crimes investigation, nor do they want sanctions and boycotts that would also affect their own people. It is clear to Sri Lankans that those looking to "get even" with Sri Lanka are the Tamil Tigers, their front organisations, activist, and their sympathisers who care not for any of Sri Lanka's people.

The same extremist who funded suicide bombings and child recruitment in Sri Lanka for 26 years now want justice? Amusing. Not as amusing as those who want to question Fonseka on alleged war crimes. Take a look at A Chronology of US War Crimes & Torture, 1975-2005 by Tom Stephens. Also read International Justice and Impunity: The Case of the United States by Vincent Rivasseau.

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