Butenis condemns WikiLeaks disclosures

Wednesday, 1 December 2010 00:45 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Strongly condemning the release of classified diplomatic communications by WikiLeaks, the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka said the U.S. has worked hard to assist the government and people of Sri Lanka to strengthen security, to further economic development, and to foster political reconciliation.

The U.S. Ambassador Patricia Butenis said her government was working hard to strengthen its existing partnerships and build new ones to meet shared challenges, from climate change to ending the threat of nuclear weapons to fighting disease and poverty and that she was proud to be a part of that effort.

“As the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I’m proud to be part of this effort,” she said.

Butenis recalling the assistance given by the U.S. to Sri Lanka for its development said the diplomatic mission recently collaborated with the government of Sri Lanka to bring a delegation of business leaders to increase trade between the two nations.

In addition the Ambassador pointed out that USAID, has partnered with local companies to train people in the former conflict zones in new skills to aid their livelihoods and the U.S. has just handed over the first installment of a $1.5 million donation to the Sri Lankan Army’s Humanitarian Demining Unit.

Since 2009, the U.S. government has contributed approximately $180 million to help Sri Lanka, she said.

The Ambassador said the people of good faith will recognise internal reports of diplomatic missions do not represent the government’s official foreign policy and they are only one element of many that shape foreign policy.

Media reports said the U.S. wanted its diplomats at the UN headquarters to find what the global agency was thinking about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

The Guardian newspaper reported that secret cables sent to the US diplomats at the UN had made enquires about Sri Lanka.

“Views and intentions of UNSC (UN security council), UN human rights entities, and members regarding Sri Lankan government policies on human rights and humanitarian assistance; UN views about appointing a Special Envoy for Sri Lanka,” the report quoted a cable sent to the diplomats.

Ambassador Butenis said the leaking sensitive information for whatever purpose not only affect the relations between governments but also put the lives of local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside the government who offer their own candid insights in real danger.

“Revealing a person’s identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, even death,” the Ambassador cautioned.

The Ambassador assured that her government is committed to maintaining the security of the diplomatic communications and is taking steps to ensure their confidentiality.

“We will continue to work to strengthen our partnership with Sri Lanka and make progress on the issues that are important for our two countries,” Butenis said adding that she is in close contact with the Sri Lankan government to make sure both countries continue to focus on the issues and tasks at hand.

Wimal raps US over WikiLeaks

Housing and Construction Minister and leader of the National Freedom Front said yesterday that the controversy regarding the WikiLeaks documents substantiated the fact that the United States has led an international operation against Sri Lanka.

Housing and Construction Minister and leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Wimal Weerawansa told the media today that the US wanted to defeat the current administration as it did not follow dictates from the US.

He said that the whole Wikileaks issue has revealed the truth behind what was being said by the likes of the NFF.

According to Weerawansa, it was the wish of the US to get a government appointed in Sri Lanka that was loyal to them.