| by Dharisha Bastians
( January 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp will be in Sri Lanka next week for high level discussions with the Sri Lankan Government including the Sri Lankan President.
|Stephen J. Rapp|
A US Embassy Spokesman in Colombo yesterday confirmed that Ambassador Rapp will be in the island during the week of 5 February for meetings, but said his schedule was still in the process of being prepared for the visit.
An External Affairs Ministry Spokesman, however, denied knowledge of the high profile visit.
However, diplomatic sources confirmed that Ambassador Rapp would receive an audience with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and several other high ranking government officials during his visit to the island.
According to highly placed government officials, the government and External Ministry officials are presently deep in ‘strategy mode’ in a bid to decide how approach Rapp’s visit and the questions it poses for Sri Lanka.
Stephen J. Rapp is the Obama Administration’s point man on war crimes issues and ‘coordinates the deployment of a range of diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and intelligence tools to help expose the truth, judge those responsible, protect and assist victims, enable reconciliation, and build the rule of law,’ according to the US State Department website.
Ambassador Rapp’s visit comes ahead of the UN Human Rights Council Sessions due to commence on 27 February, on the sidelines of which several countries including the US, Britain and the EU want Sri Lanka to agree to substantive talks on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission findings and recommendations.