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In Sri Lanka, UN's Ban Now Lauds Sirisena, Cites Accountability

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 8 -- On Sri Lanka's election, after Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat but before 10:30 pm on January 8 in Washington, US Secretary of State issued a statement, below.

  Inner City Press published it, and asked the UN for its comment. Told to expect one in the AM, New York time, Inner City Press noted, the earlier the better. Twelve hours later, nothing.

  So Inner City Press asked again at the noon briefing on January 9, after new President Sirisena's inauguration. UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN welcomes the transfer of power, then later in the briefing read out this statement:

"The Secretary-General congratulates the people of Sri Lanka on the successful conclusion of the presidential election, and welcomes the constitutional transfer of power.

"The Secretary-General applauds the Sri Lankan Elections Commission for its professionalism in ensuring a peaceful and credible election. He also commends the efforts of the candidates, including in particular outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa, law enforcement agencies and civil society for upholding and respecting democratic governance.

"The Secretary-General looks forward to working with President Maithripala Sirisena and the people of Sri Lanka. He affirms the continuous support of the United Nations for development, reconciliation, political dialogue and accountability in Sri Lanka."

  Inner City Press immediately asked Haq if what this reference to accountability portends for the UN inquiry into the events in 2009. We'll have more on this.

  Amnesty International has said that "Sri Lanka has for years resisted all international efforts to investigate the conflict years, and instead relied on domestic investigation bodies that toed the government line. This has to end the new government should cooperate fully with the UN investigation.

   Watch this site.

  In other possible routes to accountability, talk of seeking justice in US courts as to several joint American citizens in Team Rajapaksa - or on the team during the 2009 "Bloodbath on the Beach" -- has picked up. Some team members have reportedly already left the country: we'll have more on this.

 Kerry said:

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY

January 8, 2015

Conclusion of Sri Lankan Elections and Election of Maithripala Sirisena

The Sri Lankan people deserve great credit on the successful conclusion of their elections.  They turned out in great numbers to exercise their democratic rights and every vote was a victory for Sri Lanka.

The United States applauds the Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner, the security forces, Sri Lankan civil society, and the candidates themselves for making sure this election was not marred by unrest and for ensuring a significant drop in campaign-related violence. It will be important for that effort to continue in the coming days.

I commend President Rajapaksa for accepting the results of the election in the proud tradition of peaceful and orderly transfers of power in Sri Lanka. His words tonight about accepting the verdict of the people and moving forward are important.

I look forward to working with President-elect Maithripala Sirisena as his new government works to implement its campaign platform of a Sri Lanka that is peaceful, inclusive, democratic, and prosperous."

  It's done. But what does it portend for the Rajapaksas' military / diplomatic corps, like Shavendra Silva and in New York, Palitha Kohona?


 

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