Three new Ministers off the blocks

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 02:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Dharisha Bastians

Three key ministers of the new Cabinet were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, ahead of a visit by top US State Department official and high level discussions on the UN war crimes report.

Newly-elected MPs Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and D.M. Swaminathan were returned as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Resettlement as the new Government gears up for the September sessions of the UN Human Rights Council and a series of high level diplomatic discussions ahead of that meet.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal will be in Colombo today for talks with Minister Samaraweera and other high level officials of the Sri Lankan Government. The Ministers of Justice and Resettlement will also be involved in talks expected to centre around the Government’s promised domestic mechanism for investigating allegations of major rights abuses during the final stages of the war and post-war rehabilitation of the north and east.

Washington has led moves at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to hold the Sri Lankan Government accountable for allegations of violations of humanitarian law during the last battles between Government troops and the LTTE in 2009, in which the UN estimates thousands of civilians perished.

Assistant Secretary Biswal will meet Minister Samaraweera for talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this morning.

The Presidential Media Unit said the three Ministers had been sworn in early because each of them had roles to play in upcoming international conferences and meetings.