Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sri Lanka’s decisive military victory over terrorism no jubilation for United States

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune Washington, D.C. 20 May ( The United States which strongly encouraged Sri Lanka to engage in political negotiations with Tamil Tigers believing the outfit’s invincibility implicitly and explicitly indicating that their total annihilation will silence the voice of the minority ethnic Tamils had no immediate reaction to the outfit’s total defeat on Monday May 18.

The U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly at the daily media briefing on Tuesday side stepped the issue of U.S. Government congratulating Sri Lanka. Instead he was continually referring to humanitarian situation and the internally displayed person’s plight.

When asked by a reporter as to why the United States comments of the defeat of a ruthless terrorist outfit “couched in sort of moral equivalent terms of the fighting is over, we’re glad that this has ended” without making a statement congratulating the Government of Sri Lanka, the spokesman continued with his comments about the displaced persons and their welfare.

The accredited State Department journalist asked the spokesman point blank “Isn’t this a victory over terrorism? Isn’t that worth celebrating”, he refused to offer the Government of Sri Lanka the Obama administration’s congratulations.

The Asian Tribune carries here the exact dialogue that went between the reporter and the State Department spokesman Ian Kelly:

Question: Yeah. With LTTE designated by our government as a foreign terrorist organization, why are you not congratulating Sri Lanka for concluding a decisive military victory over a foreign terrorist organization? Why our comments all are couched in sort of moral equivalent terms of the fighting is over, we’re glad that this has ended? Isn’t this a victory over terrorism?

Mr. Kelly: I don’t like you saying that I’m using moral equivalent terms, I have to say, James. Look, I mean, we are less than 24 hours into what I hope is a new era for the Sri Lankan people. And as I said before, our focus is on addressing these very urgent needs of the Sri Lankan people, these almost 300,000 dispossessed, displaced people. Our policy on the LTTE – the Tamil Tigers – has been very clear. We see them as a terrorist organization.

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