Sri Lanka Fires Back At US Over Travel Warning

Sri Lanka yesterday accused the United States of creating a “false and alarmist view” after Washington warned of possible violence on the island and said anti-Western sentiment was rising.

The travel warning was issued after an opposition party staged a peaceful protest outside the US embassy in Colombo over Israeli actions in Gaza. It said there was increased pressure on anyone linked to US projects, warning that “even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence”.

A statement by the Ministry said that there have been no instances of violent protests targeting the US Embassy, its diplomats, officials or citizens, though claimed by the US State Department’s Security Message, that such incidents could occur.

Sri Lankan Government said that the sentiments made by the United States were misleading.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry added that such alarming statements are unnecessary and damages the image of the country. They also said that such a situation has not occurred in the country and the country’s infrastructure is totally under control.

Sri Lanka has repeatedly locked horns with the Western nations over rights issues, notably allegations that Sri Lankan forces killed at least 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of the civil war.  

Last week the Sri Lankan Government accused the foreign diplomats who attended the ‘War widows’ meeting of being biased and not being objective. The government urged the Western diplomats to be more objective towards the real destination.

Pro-government mobs led by Buddhist monks disrupted the war widows meeting, and prompted the US embassy to demand Sri Lanka enforce its own laws on freedom of speech and association.

The Sri Lankan Government later issued a statement saying it remains firm in its commitment to maintain law and order in the country and protect not only its own citizens, but diplomats as well as non-nationals in the country at all times.


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