A high level US State Department delegation arrived in Colombo on Saturday in the first high-profile US visit to Colombo since Barack Obama was sworn-in as the US President for a second term. The visit comes in the wake of concerns raised by the US Embassy in Colombo and by State Department Spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, about the impeachment of the Chief Justice, and its timing. The US State Department delegation comprises Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman. The delegation met Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians, R. Sampanthan, M.A. Sumanthiran and S. Sridharan at the official residence of the US Ambassador, Michele Sisson in Colombo, Saturday. The TNA delegation told the visiting US officials that the international community should assist in finding an early solution to the problems of minority communities. TNA Leader, R. Sampanthan, pointed out the government is reluctant to fulfil the political aspirations of the Tamils, and implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). MP Sampanthan also expressed his views over the army’s latest report on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. The TNA Leader criticizing the comments made by SL Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at an event held to release the Army’s report on the LLRC recommendations said the Defence Secretary has made a highly irresponsible statement saying that there were no disappearances. Elaborating further on the current state of the political process with regard to the Tamil question, he told the US officials that there were high hopes that the political process would be expedited and the ecommendations made in the LLRC report would be implemented in the aftermath of the US-backed UNHRC resolution in Geneva last year. However, there has been hardly any move in the implementation of the LLRC or addressing the grievances of the people in the North and East. Sampanthan supported by TNA’s Kilinochchi Parliamentarian S. Sritharan and M. Sumanthiran, said there is ample evidence to prove that arrests were made during the final phase of the war, and added that thousands are still missing and their kith and kin are traumatized over the disappearance of their loved ones. The TNA Parliamentarians also pointed out that the acquisition of land by the Security Forces in the North is continuing unabated, and the government is destroying historical and the cultural identities in the North through new colonization schemes. The meeting had lasted for nearly two hours. The US delegates, responding to the TNA Parliamentarians had said their prime intention of the visit is to observe the progress made in restoring peace in the country and to look into the implementation of the recommendations made at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva, last year. The US State Department delegation also met senior United National Party members yesterday and discussed the current political situation in the country. The US delegation will travel to Jaffna today, where it is expected to meet the members of Jaffna’s civil society and senior government officials, sources said. Meanwhile, a TNA delegation is expected to leave the country on a visit to South Africa.]]>

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