The resolution brought to the US House of Representatives has put the Sri Lankan government under great tension. Reports from Colombo confirm this. The Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs has initiated diplomatic maneuvers to overturn the resolution. The question arises as to whether the moves made by Sri Lanka through the Ministry of External Affairs and later by Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ravinatha Aryasinha will have any impact on the US resolution.
The resolution brought by the US House of Representatives has many reasons to confuse Sri Lanka. This resolution is put forth under the title, “Recognizing the 12 years since the end of the war in Sri Lanka on 18 May 2009, expressing support for justice, accountability, reconciliation, compensation and reconstruction to ensure a lasting peaceful political solution in Sri Lanka to ensure a prosperous counter-period for all Sri Lankans.”
The proposal is supported by representatives of the two major parties in the United States, the Democrats, and the Republicans. Two of the sponsors were members of the US State Department. With the support of seven members of Congress, the motion has now been submitted to the US Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee. It will be taken up for debate in the House of Representatives only after obtaining the approval of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which has about 50 members.
Despite the media reports of the proposal tabled on May 18, Mullivaikkal Memorial Day. The Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs woke up two weeks ago and it has now begun to make diplomatic moves to block the motion before it can be debated.
The main reason for the Sri Lankan government’s outrage is that the resolution recognizes the homeland of the Tamil people in the North and East.
Most of the issues mentioned in this seven-page resolution are similar to the Geneva Convention. That is, the resolution emphasizes accountability. Although the LTTE is a banned organization in the United States, the resolution is seen as a recognition of the LTTE as an organization that fought for the freedom of the Tamil people. “Between the government forces in Sri Lanka and the Tamil freedom struggle organizations including the LTTE.” The phrase is tantamount to giving recognition to the LTTE.
Most important thing is that the resolution is set to accept the traditional homeland of the Tamil people. The North East of Sri Lanka was recognized as the homeland of Tamils in the Indo-Lanka agreement of 1987. That was the first international agreement to recognize it. The Sri Lankan government was also accepting it at the time. In that sense, the US House of Representatives may approve the motion if it is approved by the Foreign Office.
It is against this backdrop that the Sri Lankan government is now hastily moving towards Washington. A few days ago, a stern statement was issued by the Ministry of External Affairs. The statement was aimed at responding to issues raised in the US proposal. In particular, it denounced the LTTE as a terrorist organization and suspected that the LTTE may have been involved in the plot. The report was also sent to the US Senate and Foreign Affairs Committee.
As a second move, another document has been sent to the US Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Ravinatha Aryasinha. The Sri Lankan government is targeting the idea because the External Affairs Committee needs to explore the idea and pave the way for the next phase of action. The Sri Lankan government plans to drop it before it can get the Foreign Affairs Council’s approval.
That is why Ravinatha P Aryasinha has now deployed to manipulate the United States. Ravinath also previously served as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to Geneva and one of Sri Lanka’s leading diplomats.
There could be several reasons why the US is bringing such a proposal to the current stage, which could push Sri Lanka into a serious crisis. One can certainly believe that the influence and activities of the Tamil diaspora were behind this. It is a well-known fact that Tamil diaspora organizations are active in the United States. On the contrary, Sri Lanka’s closeness to China may be one of the reasons for this. The United States may have been waiting for an opportunity to present a crisis to Sri Lanka.
In this situation, Sri Lanka has now gone to the United States with many promises. Sri Lanka fears that a resolution passed in the US Congress could have an impact on India and internationally.
Indeed, Sri Lanka has now been forced to re-promise many things, including the promises made in Geneva. A spokesman for TELO recently said, “We see this position of the United States as a way to recognize the homeland ideology of Tamils in the international arena and to help our race’s national demands to be gradually overcome.” He added, “If we fail at this moment to unite for our people in favor of the international political environment, beyond their positions, electoral motives, party interests, and arrogance to realize the global context and make it favorable to our people, we will be committing massive historical betrayal beyond any justification.”
The United States is making moves for its own global interests no doubt about it. The Eelam Tamil issue maybe a dice for them. But we need far-sightedness and diplomacy today to reap its benefits!