US for close economic ties with Sri Lanka rather than sanctions now: envoy

Apr 04, 2014 (LBO) – The US wants to see progress on human rights, rule of law and attacks on religious minorities and was for closer economic ties at this point, rather than economic sanctions, its envoy to Colombo said. She said on March 09, a pastor in a Church in Badulla district was assaulted by a mob while a service was in progress. On March 26, two petrol bombs were thrown at a mosque in Dambulla.

“I also note our serious concern about reprisals against those who meet with visiting diplomats and UN officials, or those who traveled to Geneva to meet with various delegations during the month of March,” she said.

“It is disturbing to see this targeting of human rights defenders who have devoted their careers and lives to promoting and defending the rights of their fellow Sri Lankan citizens.”

Ambassador Sison said the UN resolution was not against Sri Lanka and the US relations relationship with Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan people including businessmen, academics and civil society activists was “broad” and “deep”.

The American Chamber of Commerce was active in Sri Lanka and the US was a key trading partner, she said.

Trade promotion, expanding market access, intellectual property rights and technical