The US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alina B. Teplitz, argued that the Chinese deals lacked transparency and mutual benefits for Sri Lanka.
Speaking at a hypothetical roundtable discussion this morning (Jan 26), she stressed that the island nation must secure more deals outside of China in order to regain its status as a level playing field for global partners.
The US ambassador went on to say that partnerships between countries should be open, transparent, and mutually beneficial. “If this is what Sri Lanka’s relationship with China embodies, we encourage it.”
In response to a question raised about mandatory Covid-19 cremations in the country and UN human rights experts urging Sri Lanka to put an end to them, Teplitz expressed his concerns about the government’s policy.
She stressed the need for mutual respect for the traditions of all societies while observing public health.
Teplitz noted that people of all faiths should have the opportunity to see their loved ones in a way that represents their faith, traditions and culture.
Talking about the recommendations made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding possible sanctions, she said that the United States is interested in Sri Lanka’s obligations and looks forward to the island nation’s commitment to a local reconciliation mechanism.
It also found that the newly appointed Presidential Inquiry Committee to inquire, investigate, or take necessary action on the findings of previous committees appointed to investigate human rights violations does not represent a progress in the commitments undertaken by the Sri Lankan government, Maadeh.
She said supporting human rights is not an attempt to bully Sri Lanka. “The debate on human rights aims to support Sri Lanka’s fulfillment of these rights, not to punish it for not doing so.”
Turning to the current priorities of Sri Lanka-US relations, Teplitz said that boosting Sri Lanka’s inclusive economic growth during the pandemic is at the top of the list.