Gammanpila calls for designation of incoming US Ambassador as persona non grata

Friday, 17 May 2024 00:45 –      – 64

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  • PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila alleges that Horst told US Senate SL’s ban on foreign research vessels was influenced by the US
  • Criticises Horst’s statement arguing that it reflects a lack of respect for SL’s sovereignty
  • Expresses concern over Horst’s intention to follow in footsteps of current US Ambassador Julie Chung

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila called on the Government yesterday to declare incoming US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Elizabeth Horst as persona non grata over a recent statement on Sri Lanka’s ban on foreign research vessels.

Speaking at a press conference, Gammanpila alleged that Horst had testified before the US Senate, asserting that Sri Lanka’s decision to impose a one-year ban on foreign research vessels was at the behest of the US.

“Elizabeth Horst, the nominated US ambassador to Sri Lanka, recently spoke before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding her appointment. Her testimony and responses to senators’ inquiries during the confirmation process are accessible on the www.senate.gov website,” he said.

“Her statements before the committee did not resemble those of an ambassador representing the US in the sovereign nation of Sri Lanka. Instead, she appeared to assume a role akin to that of a female Governor arriving to govern a colony named Sri Lanka on behalf of the US,” noted the MP.

The MP remarked that Horst’s statement sheds light on the circumstances surrounding the imposition of the ban, indicating that it was enforced for a year following US Opposition to Sri Lanka permitting the Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang to enter Sri Lanka’s waters.

“However, during the ban period, both a US research vessel and a German research vessel were permitted to enter the port of Colombo. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contends that these ships entered solely to acquire supplies. In contrast, the Chinese vessel was not granted permission even for such purposes. This discrepancy suggests that the ban targets countries unfriendly to the US, but it does not seem to affect the US and its allies,” remarked the MP.

In essence, the MP emphasised that the US is now dictating which research ships can enter Sri Lanka. Consequently, he argued, Sri Lanka’s autonomy appears compromised, transforming the nation from an independent country into a colony of the US.

The MP emphasised that if Sri Lanka intends to enforce a moratorium on research vessels, it should be applied uniformly rather than selectively. He expressed concern that Sri Lanka’s selective actions, as highlighted by the Ambassador-Designate’s statement, could undermine the country’s independence if it aligns too closely with the US demands. Therefore, he urged the Foreign Minister to promptly respond to Horst’s comments.

Additionally, the MP voiced apprehension over Horst’s stated intention to follow the approach of the current US Ambassador Julie Chung. He pointed out that Ambassador Chung’s actions contributed to the tumultuous situation in Sri Lanka in 2022. The MP warned of potential negative consequences if Ambassador Horst adopts a similar stance.

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