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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2901

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Travel Ban To US Creates A Diplomatic Furore

By K.T.Rajasingham
Colombo, 16 February, (Asiantribune.com):

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Relations this morning, to inform the Sri Lankan Government’s objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members.

On Friday, the United States said it would refuse entry to Sri Lanka's Army chief over what it said “credible” evidence of human rights violations in the 2009 finale to the civil war in Sri Lanka.

The Government of the United States imposed travel restrictions on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members “due to credible information of his involvement in gross violations of human rights”.

However, issuing a statement, the Sri Lankan government said it takes strong objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members by the United States government, based on independently unverified information.

The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Relations over the travel restriction imposed on Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva.

However, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement, pointing out that there were no substantiated or proven allegations of human rights violations against the Army Commander and strongly objected to the travel restrictions imposed on him.

Accordingly, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka has been summoned to the Ministry today morning to convey Sri Lanka’s stance on the matter, stated Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

On 14th of this month Public Diplomacy Division of the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry while issuing a statement expressing strong objection to the imposition of travel restriction on Lt.Gen. Silva and his immediate family members pointed out -

(Quote) The Government reiterates that Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was appointed as the Commander of the Army by the then Head of State, taking into account his seniority and that there were no substantiated or proven allegations of human rights violations against him. His elevation as the Acting Chief of Defence Staff by the current Head of State President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was on account of his being the senior most serving military officer.

While the timing of the imposition of this travel restriction 6 months after Lt. Gen. Silva’s appointment as Army Commander is concerning, it is disappointing that a foreign government should question the prerogative of the democratically elected President to call upon persons with proven expertise to hold key positions on national security related matters.

The Government of Sri Lanka requests the United States to verify the authenticity of the sources of information and to review its decision. ( End Quote):

In the meantime Leader of the Opposition in his tweet stated-

(Quote)Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa in a tweet says, the imposition of a travel ban on Army Commander Shavendra Silva and his immediate family is regrettable and unfortunate.

The opposition leader added, “All of us stand by him and his family at this hour of need.”(End Quote)

- Asian Tribune -

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Travel Ban To US Creates A Diplomatic Furore
Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva’s Travel Ban To US Creates A Diplomatic Furore
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