Sri Lanka Fights US Resolution
By Easwaran Rutnam
The government has launched a campaign through the Sri Lankan Embassy in the United States to lobby against a resolution presented by a US Congressman on Sri Lanka.
External Affairs Ministry sources told The Sunday Leader that the Sri Lankan Embassy had already managed to have the resolution withdrawn from the calendar for this year.
However there are fears the document, House Resolution 177, may be re-submitted and passed in Congress before January next year.
The resolution, first presented to Congress in March 2011 by Republican Representative Michael Grimm, seeks the establishment of an independent international accountability mechanism to investigate Sri Lanka.
Despite being presented in 2011 the document was never taken for a vote and last month it was submitted again just as Congress convened after a six-week recess.
Sources at the External Affairs Ministry said that Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya and other top Embassy officials had urgent discussions with Congress members and managed to have the resolution removed from the calendar.
However sources added that Michael Grimm is still lobbying for the resolution to be submitted again and passed in Congress before the end of this year.
“Ambassador Wickramasuriya and officials from the Sri Lankan Embassy in the US are working hard to discourage support for the resolution and attempt to withdraw it completely or change the resolution to be supportive of Sri Lanka and focus on positive developments,” sources said.
Congress members are being told that following the war Sri Lanka has seen tremendous progress including in the economy, tourism and in the area of resettlement.
The government feels that the resolution in its current form will be counter-productive for the country. Meanwhile the External Affairs Ministry said that intelligence collected by the Embassy confirms that Congressman Grimm had received a number of campaign contributions from Sri Lankan-American constituents who are the sole supporters behind the push for the resolution. Grimm is already under a federal grand jury investigation following accusations that he accepted contributions over the legal limit from non-citizen donors.