Following an onslaught against UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay that caused serious embarrassment to the Sri Lankan Government after her office issued a harsh denial, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa has taken arms once again this time against the US Embassy in Sri Lanka.
The powerful Secretary to the Ministry of Defence has alleged that the US Embassy in Colombo was pursuing a political agenda extremely detrimental to Sri Lanka’s interests, the Government’s official news portal news.lk reports.
“Although the government was doing everything in its power to restore democracy following three decades of war, the US embassy was all out ot undermine it,” Secretary Rajapaksa said. He was responding to a US statement issued in the immediate aftermath of Provincial Council elections in the Central, North Western and Northern regions, the Government Information Department said.
In a statement following the conclusion of the provincial council elections last Saturday, the US Embassy said: “A process free of violence and intimidation in the Northern Province is required for greater civilian administration and to help further the reconciliation process four years after the war. These elections provided a starting point for that process. Democracy is not simply about elections, however, and more must be done to ensure that Sri Lankans of all communities can live with peace and dignity that they deserve.”
Gotabaya Rajapaksa charged that he had never come across an assertion which was as unfair as one which claims democracy was simply not about elections. “We are a multi-party country. As all know, even at the height of the war, Sri Lanka conducted elections. It is nothing but unfair to blame the UPFA merely because those in the South backed by the US Embassy here cannot win elections at any level,” the Secretary said, taking a pot shot at the Opposition.
Recalling America’s and some European countries’ criticism of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which did away with the presidential term limit, the Defence Secretary pointed out the recent overwhelming victory achieved by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to secure an unprecedented third term. Would anyone dare challenge the German Chancellor’s right to lead the country for a third term having won the people’s mandate, the Secretary asked.
Secretary Rajapaksa charged that Western powers had kept mum when the LTTE and its proxies ordered Tamil speaking people to boycott the presidential election on Nov. 17, 2005. The statement is rich in irony because reports surfaced following the 2005 presidential poll that the Mahinda Rajapaksa campaign had made a pact with LTTE Supremo Prabhakaran to call for the boycott, in exchange for a handsome sum. It is a foregone conclusion that if Prabhakaran had not called the boycott in the North and East in 2005, the Defence Secretary’s brother would never have been elected President of Sri Lanka.
“The TNA would still have been a prisoner and a TNA-run NPC would never have become a reality if Prabhakaran had survived the war,”Government Information Department quoted the Defence Secretary saying.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence has been a vocal opponent of the 13th Amendment to the constitution and the Northern Provincial Council which would set the TNA up as a provincial administration.