Sri Lanka on Wednesday continued its diplomatic tirade against the US over secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s remark that rape was used as a weapon of war in during the war with the LTTE.
Speaking on live radio programme, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said Clinton seemed to have forgotten the Monica (Lewinsky) episode and should focus on her own backyard instead of making allegations of women being abused in other countries.
The Lankan PM was referring to Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, who in the late ‘90s was under some uncomfortable spotlight after being accused of sexually abusing his staff member Monica Lewinsky.
Wickramanayaka said the issue of Clinton’s statement might have been settled with the US State Department issuing a clarification, but her allegations were serious in nature and could not be taken lightly.
Wickramanayaka added that former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and current US Under secretary of State Robert Blake was attempting to present a war crimes report on Sri Lanka and bring charges against some Sri Lankan government officials.
Meanwhile, Britain has expressed disappointment with Sri Lanka’s handling of war-displaced civilians and demanded that they be given the freedom to leave state-run camps.
“Freedom of movement is critical if a humanitarian crisis is to be averted,” visiting British Development Minister Mike Foster said after touring the camps, where over 250,000 civilians are being detained. Foster, who began a two-day visit Tuesday, also voiced concern over the conditions in the camps.
Foster said a package of £ 4.8 million was in the pipeline to assist Sri Lanka in resettlement work, but added that it could not use the money to transfer people from one camp to another.
“Mike Foster made clear that Britain’s funding could not support people simply being transferred from existing ‘closed’ camps - which detain civilians for long periods of time - to new ‘closed’ camps,” the British High Commission said. “Freedom of movement has to be allowed now.”
He said Britain will also talk to other foreign donors to see if they would agree to withhold aid after the rains cease in a bid to force Colombo to dismantle the camps and free people.