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Sri Lanka objects to travel restrictions by US on its army chief

A statement by Srilankan foreign ministry last night reiterated government stance that Lt. Gen. Silva was appointed as the Commander of the Army by the then Head of State, taking into account his seniority and that there were no substantiated or proven allegations of human rights violations against him.

The statement came soon after the US Department of State  designated General Shavendra making him and his family members ineligible for entry into the United States.

The army chief has certain war crime allegations leveled against him during the three-decades LTTE war but the  Government of Sri Lanka has said such allegations are based on independently unverified information. Srilankan government said the timing of the imposition of this travel restriction 6 months after Gen. Silva’s appointment is concerning and it is disappointing that a foreign government should question the prerogative of the democratically elected President to call upon persons with proven expertise to hold key positions on national security related requested the United States to verify the authenticity of the sources of information and to review its decision.

US state department has said the allegations of gross human rights violations against General Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible.

The appointment as army commander  in August has drew sharp criticism from the United States and the United Nations, which later suspended the Sri Lankan army from its peacekeeping operations.

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