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Grease devil incidents give rise to new levels of insecurity in Jaffna-US Asst. Secretary Blake

Statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake at the Colombo Press Conference, Sep 14, 2011

It is a pleasure to be back in Sri Lanka and to see many old friends. Over the last two days I have had a wide range of meetings in Colombo and Jaffna.

In Colombo I met with President Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister GL Peiris, representatives of the TNA and UNP, and members of civil society.

I also visited Jaffna to meet with the military commander, NGO representatives, and students from Jaffna University. While in Jaffna I paid a visit to the offices of Uthayan to show America’s support of freedom of the press.

This is a very different country from when I left in May of 2009. Most of the IDPs have left Menik Farm and the rest will leave as soon as demining is complete; important local council elections have taken place in the north; more than 8,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released; and substantial work has been done in the North to re-open schools, improve infrastructure, and remove mines.

The United States is prioritizing our assistance plans to help the people of the North to recover, rebuild, and return to normal lives. We are investing $20 million to partner with the private sector to create 20,000 jobs in horticulture, dairy, apparel, aquaculture, logistics and construction sectors in the North and East. We are continuing activity to support demining so IDPs and others can return to their homes. We have contributed $1.4 million in the last year to support transitional housing across the North. In addition, we are the majority contributor to the World Food Program here, providing $5 million over the past 12 months.

Yet a great deal still needs to be done to heal the wounds of war and ensure a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Sri Lanka. I would point to three areas of particular priority.

First, I was very pleased to hear from both the government and the TNA that they will resume their important dialogue on devolution and other matters.

Secondly, the announcement that the U.N. Secretary General will transmit the Panel of Experts report to the UNHRC and the UNHCHR underlines the need for a comprehensive national reconciliation process that includes a full, credible and independent accounting of and accountability for those who violated international humanitarian law. We hope that the LLRC report will address the allegations raised in the Panel of Experts report.

Finally, I am concerned about human rights. A very important part of reconciliation and returning people’s lives to normal in the North is an improvement in human rights. I discussed with relevant officials the importance of disarming paramilitary groups, on which progress is being made. There is also a need to put an end to the grease devil incidents, which many people in Jaffna yesterday told me had given rise to new levels of insecurity. It is important to deploy Tamil police in the north so the military no longer needs to perform these functions. And the U.S. remains deeply concerned about attacks on journalists.

Thank you very much and I’d be glad to take your questions.

28 Comments

  1. Arul Sittampalam says:

    Mr. Robert Blake,

    Thank you indeed for all your help to all Sri-Lankans.

    I am quite sure you have experienced the true Sri-lankan style protests while you were in Jaffna. The poor “warlord” thinks he can intimidate you with many placards.

    You are always welcome back to our country Sir!

  2. NATO Eelamist says:

    Thank you sir ! Future Tamil Eelam is with USA forever !!

  3. Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan says:

    Bob Blake has that necessary savvy to figure out those who control the Grease
    Yakas also are capable of organising Demos against him/the US, if they are in the
    right frame of mind. The Quialing from the Tamil side will do anything for a few dollars more.

    ISS

  4. Dushy Ranetunge says:

    Great Stuff Blacky baby,
    Thanks for that and come back, SOON!

  5. Suresh says:

    Blake wants to please SL at the expense of the Tamils.
    If the USA is seriouly concerned with allegations of war crimes, why can’t they initiate action
    against at least those who hold US citzenship, who directed the attacks on innocent civilians?

  6. M.Sivananthan says:

    What is the point or purpose this man making a ‘report’ on another country? If he make a report how they still find the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, it will be interesting!

  7. s.Siva says:

    Thank you Mr.Blake what ever you have said is if from your heart and not just diplomatic jargan I wellcome and thank you for that.It remains to be seen what action you take as followup.

  8. selva says:

    Dear Mr Blake, I have just reminded me your past speeches and interviews druing and post your stay in srilanka to date It looke this speech also going to give Srilanka more time to complete the GENOCIDE OF TAMILS. Iwish to belive My inferance is wrong.

    Sathyam Commentary
    15 October 2007

    Thank you, Ambassador Robert Blake…

    I acknowledge with gratitude my indebtedness to the reflections of Paul Coelho in an article entitled ‘Thank You, President Bush’ written in 2003, some four years ago. – Nadesan Satyendra

    “..The Sri Lankan military has achieved important victories in the past year, including the defeat of the LTTE in the east and the sinking of many rebel tankers used to deliver military and other supplies to the Tamil Tigers. Such victories and US support for Sri Lanka should demonstrate to the LTTE that they cannot hope to win this conflict… To help relieve the suffering of the displaced, the US has donated food worth USD 14 million so far this year with another shipment valued at USD 9 million set to arrive in the island later this year… But both sides (government and LTTE) must realise there can be no military solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict…” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, at a luncheon meeting at the American Chamber of Commerce in Colombo on13 October 2007

    ——————————————————————————–

    Thank you Ambassador Blake for reminding us of the important victories that the Sri Lanka military has achieved in the past.

    Vankalai
    Vallipunam
    Padahuthurai
    Pessalai
    Welikande
    Kayts
    East Eelam
    Mullivaikal.

  9. Kumar says:

    His visit was to mislead Tamils and cover up Sri Lanka against the war crime investigations.

  10. Kalu Albert says:

    Only USD 20 Million to lift the lives of these people who were made destitute by the ” Liberation ” financed in USD to the tune of 300 Million a year budget.

    Mr Sengutuan who often gloats about the nett Diaspora holding more than the GDP of Srilanka, which has an economy, currently churning over of USD 60,000 Million ( CIA Economic Estimates), hasn’t noticed this generosity from the US.

    Perhaps Mr Sengutuan has referred to this in his “quip” about Quailings.

    Or shall we say it is”Quail Feed”?.

  11. Chinese Charm says:

    S L Planning and preparing for another Prison massacre??. Blackmail the world with killing of Tamil prisoners??.SL Gundas can do that. What the humanitarian lawyers did when Kuttimany’s Head was parraded along the Colombo street.That is Humanity’s Dignity.

  12. J.Muthu says:

    Time is changed grow up

  13. rahini says:

    Key point of the statement is the following:
    “It is important to deploy Tamil police in the north so the military no longer needs to perform these functions.”

    Blake has clearly established the relationship between the insecure feelings of Tamil people and the military deployment. People will only feel secure when there is a proper civil structure in place.

    The people behind this “Grease Devil” attack on civilians should clearly understand that this not a very clever strategy. This going to put SL not more trouble than they are anticipating or handle.

  14. J.Muthu says:

    you are nasty …..

  15. Bruno Umbato says:

    Working towards regime change ignoring soverginity of a country is not something any free fair minded individual should promote ..
    Servile to western ideas and personalities are not easy to get rid of … It does not matter whether you are rich, proud or liberal in outlook …

  16. Udurawana says:

    Well said. I totally agree. If the goons have that fear of loosing their US citizenship at least they will come down to their senses and act in a humane manner.

  17. SriLankan says:

    US has the neccesry diplomatic leverage to get things done. Also the advantage of having intelligence and information regarding the activities of our leaders. Our people cannot have the cake and rat the cake. So the Govt has to accept the advise of USA.

  18. Kaz says:

    Tamils should be realistic about what the US can do for them and is willing to do for them to free them from Rajapaksa regime’s oppression. Having said that, it is good to see the US taking the lead and sidelining New Delhi on this. Maybe the US has India’s tacit approval and the US and India are playing good cop – bad cop. Either way, this is encouraging.

  19. Ranjan, Toronto says:

    You seems to have read only half of his comments:

    “This is a very different country from when I left in May of 2009. Most of the IDPs have left Menik Farm and the rest will leave as soon as demining is complete; important local council elections have taken place in the north; more than 8,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released; and substantial work has been done in the North to re-open schools, improve infrastructure, and remove mines.”

  20. Foneska says:

    Military victories cannot change the political goal that was set for the miliary action in the first place!Beacuse people decide political change,not military leaders!

    Sinhalese thought military victories will change political goals of Tamils,sadly they got it wrong!

  21. Bruno Umbato says:

    So what? Do you think this ugly American would give up the idea ‘regime change’?
    I do not think so … Whatever SL had done or doing, it does not matter to them … All these talk b.s. … They do not like leaders of countries who has backbone to say no to them. … That is the problem … In the long run, there may not be any srilankans who admire USA due to this undercut … It’s pity that USA is loosing the goodwill of this friendly countrymen due to the actions of few powerful ugly Americans …

  22. Dushy Ranetunge says:

    very good. i am pleased at the good work, but not enough.

    Its only up to Hambanthota standard.

    We want it up to Colombo standard, or we want a separate state in Colombo.

  23. Dushy Ranetunge says:

    no one wants regime change.

    We want good governance, what we had before and is now diluted by the Chokka lot.

    We want good doctors, with those who get highest marks, despite them being Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim.

    We don’t want some third rate peasant from Hambanthota under the district system going to university with 50 marks, when a Colombo or Jaffna student with 70 marks is left out.

  24. Tamil boy says:

    We know what USA will and can do!We also know what India can and will do!

    But behaviour of Sinhalese and GOSL towards Tamils(like sinhala only,buddhist priority)will change the way USA and India behave!(I think it already has)

  25. Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan says:

    Ranjan from Toronto cannot fail to notice the damning comment from Blake that is likely to break the Camel’s back ..”UNSG will transmit the Panel of Experts report to the UNHRC” that is more the piece-de-resistance in Blake’s brief statement. Now I suppose it is pay time for all the calculated insults and denigration of Darusman personally and the Panel in general. The engineered insult on Blake by this orchestrated demo – that prevented Blake from meeting the Jaffna U dons and students – will entail a penalty too. Surely, the excessive uniformed presence could have ensured Blake safe passage in that small town for a VVIP visitor from a powerful and influential country the clueless regime needs for its own survival and eventual refuge.

    ISS

  26. Bruno Umbato says:

    Aha! … Third rated peasant from Hambantota!!
    These pukka shabibs are better be outside than be inside … Simple Simons!! No, these are calculated moves to undermine a country with agendas … Road is being constructed towards RegimeChange which they think nobody know .. But, all the signs are there guys… That is not a secret for many many srilankans while pukka shabibs are dishing out b.s. like doctors, higher marks, good governance hiding the real agenda …

  27. Kalu Albert says:

    I thought you bench marked everything on British Standard?.

    How come this Colombo Standard, all of a sudden?.

    Did they tell you to “Go back to Where you came from you Paki”.

  28. Bruno Umbato says:

    They did not ask these pukka sahibs to “Go back to Where you came from”.
    but they asked to help in regime change ….

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