The United States should not bully a small country like Sri Lanka, considering the difficulties it has had to face during a 30 year conflict, a member of the US House of Representatives who is visiting Sri Lanka, said yesterday.
“Why is the United States taking the lead in bullying a small country like Sri Lanka; when Sri Lanka has gone through a terrible conflict? Should we be looking at other countries when our own situation is yet to be cleared, for example even with Vietnam,” Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr., a non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives from American Samoa, speaking to a group of journalists said last evening.
He noted that Sri Lanka has made significant progress with regard to reconciliation and reconstruction and should not be antagonized by the international community at forums such as the United Nations Human Rights Council.
He further stated that the decision to sponsor a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC was a violation of President Obama’s stance of foreign policy which was “focused on engagement rather than confrontation”.
When questioned on why his views were different to that of a delegation comprising of Deputy Assistant Secretary James R. Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary Jane Zimmerman at the end of last month, he stated “Who have they been listening to? I am going to be questioning their assessment of the local scenario when I get back to the States,” he said.
Mr. Faleomavaega stated that he would question Assistant Secretary South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake at a hearing (to discuss South Asian affairs) in the US congress in the coming week. “I told President Rajapaksa that he must do what he feels is in the best national interest of Sri Lanka and its government and people. I told he may get criticized for it, but he still needed to do what he felt was best for the country,” Mr. Faleomavaega said.
He met with President Rajapakasa, the Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga. He has also met with Leader of the TNA R. Sambandan and visited Jaffna.
“I spoke with Mr. Sambandan and I recognize that it is an internal issue of politics that needs to be resolved,” he said.