Foreign Minister Agrees to Address Concerns about Handling of Accountability Issues in Geneva to GSLF – Ex. Comm.

Foreign Minister Agrees to Address Concerns about Handling of Accountability Issues in Geneva to GSLF – Ex. Comm.

(Courtesy of The Island)

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Susil Premajayantha has assured a delegation of the Federation of National Organizations (FNO) and the Global Sri Lanka Forum – Executive Committee (GSLF- Ex. Comm.) that he would certainly inquire into their concerns about the manner in which the accountability issues in terms of the 30/1 Geneva resolution in 2015 were handled.

State Minister Premajayantha,  9th December invited GSLF-Ex. Comm. delegation for a meeting close on the heels of the nationalist groups seeking an explanation from the minister as regards the recent The Island report that quoted him as having said that the Geneva resolution, co-sponsored by the previous government, was now irrelevant. Lawmaker Premajayantha asserted that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election as the President brought the issue to a conclusion.

Dr. Jagath Chandrawansa, head of the Russia branch of the GSLF-Ex. Comm.  told The Island that they were quite satisfied with State Minister Premajayantha’s assurance to revisit the contentious issue. Responding to another query, Dr. Chandrawansa said that the parliamentarian, while acknowledging the accuracy of the report he would inquire into the matter.

The delegation comprised Dr. Wasantha Bandara (FNO), Dr. Chandrawansa, attorney-at-law Dharshan Weerasekera and GSLF Sri Lanka representatives Mr. Primal Fernando and attorney-at-law Nuwan Bellanthudawa.

During nearly one and half hours of talks, a consensus was reached that a thorough examination of all information and evidence available was required as part of the overall measures to meet the Geneva threat.

The FNO-GSLF (ex. Comm.) combine emphasised the need to use once classified British material made available by Lord Naseby in Oct 2017 in Sri Lanka’s defence.

Responding to The Island queries, Dr. Bandara said that State Minister Premajayantha assured that he would consult Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in this regard and also brief President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

They also discussed the possibility of formulating two committees to streamline the process leading to the 2020 March sessions.

Dr. Bandara said that they explained to the State Minister that Sri Lanka wouldn’t get another chance if it squandered the March 2020 opportunity to set the record straight. Dr. Bandara said contrary to much publicized claims the previous government had accepted the OHCHR Investigation (OISL) based on the Darusman report. There was no point in denying acceptance of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, Dr. Bandara said, urging the new government to take remedial measures.

Dr. Chandrawansa said that in spite of debilitating setbacks the previous government somehow sustained the Geneva-managed process until the very end. With the change of government in Nov 2019, the country was in a position to push for a fresh examination of all available evidence/information.

A proper inquiry would certainly clear war winning Sri Lankan military of unproved war crimes allegations, Dr. Chandrawansa said. According to him, the government would need to reach consensus on Geneva strategy in a matter of weeks as the sessions were only three months away.

The government couldn’t ignore the fact that the parliament was most likely to be dissolved during the Geneva sessions leading to parliamentary polls in late April or early May. Unless early consensus on what he called vital national matter, there could be serious distractions during the Geneva sessions, Dr. Chandrawansa said.

Dr. Bandara pointed out the crisis caused by the Swiss on behalf of the Western community exposed their strategy. The accommodation of Inspector Nishantha Silva in Swiss asylum programme and the staged abduction proved how Western powers could cause serious impediments to the new administration. Had the Swiss been allowed airlift the the local embassy worker who claimed to have been abducted and molested and her family out of the country without being subjected to immigration formalities, the new Rajapaksa administration would have been in serious trouble, as then the whole world would have believed the canard.

Both Chandrawansa and Bandara said that the Western powers were busy trying to step up pressure on Sri Lanka in the run-up to next Geneva sessions in March. Their strategy was simple. Fresh accusations would make the new government struggle while the Geneva process could move on, they said.

They said that the previous government and Geneva owed an explanation as to why a new Constitution was proposed in 2016 to address unsubstantiated war crimes allegations. The previous government cleverly used political parties represented in parliament to pursue the matter, they said,