Sison Leaves, Rejects Minister’s Claims
By Easwaran Rutnam
The United States has denied allegations raised by a government minister who had said that former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison had offered him a bribe.
The US Embassy in Colombo in response to a question raised by The Sunday Leader, said that the allegations on Sison, who left Sri Lanka on Friday night to take up a post at the UN, were ‘baseless’.
According to media reports, Resettlement Minister Guneratne Weerakoon had told a political meeting in Aranwela on Thursday that he had recordings of the discussion where the bribe was offered to him, to which he says the Secretary to his Ministry was also privy.
The Minister had said that his experience had shown that this was how foreign ambassadors were buying government ministers.
“They reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of our engagement with senior government officials and our policy towards Sri Lanka as well as the U.S. political and economic system,” the Embassy said in response to the allegations.
Ambassador Sison had last week met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris and other senior government officials before leaving the country, and the US Embassy said they congratulated her on strengthening the bilateral relationship between both countries.
Sison has been appointed Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations.