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UN: Sri Lanka


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In DC, Sri Lanka Pitches with Ex-Congressman & CNN Anchor, Waiting for State

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 -- Amid talk of accountability in Syria, on January 28 lobbyists for Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government will be making a pitch on Capitol Hill, in advance of the UN Human Rights Council session to be held in Geneva in March.

  Registered foreign agents Thompson Advisory Group has invited members of Congress and staffers to hear President Mahinda Rajapaska's chief of staff or Permanent Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal at an hour and a half lunch in the Members' Dining Room on January 28.

  Former Congressman from Oklahoma Ernest Istook will be helping them make the (impunity) pitch, along with another government video, "Sri Lanka: Rebuilding and Reconciling," narrated by a former CNN anchor, Gene Randall. Inner City Press obtained (or intercepted) the pitch and is putting it online here.

  At the US State Department's briefing on January 27, spokesperson Jen Psaki asked about the visit, and said she'd venture to send something around after the briefing:

MS. PSAKI: You had one on Sri Lanka?

QUESTION: I do, yeah. Apparently, there’s a delegation in town today, and they’re – one of the things I believe they’re talking about is a potential U.S. plan to sponsor a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council this March. I believe it has something to do with concerns about calls for an international inquiry into allegations of war crimes during their civil war. And so I’m wondering if the U.S. is planning some kind of resolution, and if the U.S. does support an inquiry for war crimes.

MS. PSAKI: I believe – I know I’ve seen that report. Let me see if I have anything on that in particular. And if not, I’m happy to get you all something on where we stand after the briefing....Unfortunately, I don’t have anything new on that here, but let us venture to send something all around to all of you.

  Inner City Press asked; a polite interim response was received. But as of 7 pm on January 27, no real answer. This comes after US Ambassador on international justice Charles Rapp visited Sri Lanka and faced government organized protests.

  At the UN, now-gone US Ambassador for reform and management Joe Torsella worked behind the scenes on the outrage of Sri Lankan military figure Shavendra Silva being accept by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous as an advisory on peacekeeping operations. Torsella is now gone, his replacement not yet in place.

  Inner City Press has submitted to the State Department a Freedom of Information Act request about the Administration's Atrocities Prevention Board -- expedited processing was denied, but responses and disclosures should be coming, surely, some day. Watch this site.


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