COLOMBO, August 12, 2014 (AFP) – Sri Lanka accused the United States Monday of creating a “false and alarmist view” after Washington warned of possible violence on the island and said anti-Western sentiment was rising. The travel warning was issued after an opposition party staged a peaceful protest outside the US embassy in Colombo over Israeli actions in Gaza.
It said there was increased pressure on anyone linked to US projects, warning that “even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence”.
Sri Lanka, which is banking on tourists to revive its economy after ending nearly four decades of ethnic war in May 2009, said the claims were misleading.
The warning “regrettably creates a false and alarmist view of the conditions prevalent in Sri Lanka”, said the foreign ministry.
Colombo has repeatedly locked horns with Western nations over rights issues, notably allegations its forces killed at least 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of the war between the military and rebels fighting for a Tamil homeland.
Colombo has long denied the charge.
Last week the foreign ministry accused Western diplomats of favouring Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority by at