Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
14 Feb, 2020 | 11:27 pm
Colombo (News 1st) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a strongly worded rebuttal to the decision by the US State Department to impose travel restrictions on Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva.
The release notes that Sri Lanka takes strong objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Silva and his immediate family by the US which is based on independently unverified information.
The US Department of State earlier today designated Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff and his immediate family members. The public designation makes them ineligible for entry into the United States.
The Sri Lankan 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. The release adds that 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 noting that the timing of the imposition of this travel restriction 6 months after Lt. Gen. Silva’s appointment as Army Commander is concerning, the Sri Lankan Government states that it is disappointing that a foreign government would question the prerogative of a democratically elected President to call upon persons with proven expertise to hold key positions on national security-related matters.
Sri Lanka has called on the United States to verify the authenticity of the sources of information and to review its decision.
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