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US Secretary Robert Blake’s meet with Jaffna students scuttled

Colombo, Sep 13 (): US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert O Blake’s efforts to meet student representatives of Jaffna university to hear first hand account of human rights violation were blocked by supporters of Rajapakse – the EPDP paramilitary cum political party. Police were mere spectators. Geneva indicated that Sri Lanka’s war crimes report produced by Ban appointed UN panel of experts has been submitted to the UN’s Human Rights Commission. The placards displayed by EPDP supporters asked Blake as to how much dollars he paid or vodka he gifted to get the information from people he met.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said last week that one of the purposes of Blake’s visit is to discuss a report to be released in November by the government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. During his visit, Mr Blake met with TNA leader R. Sambanthan and MP M. Sumanthiran at the Hilton Colombo today. According to the leader of the TNA, issue pertaining to the national question was discussed at the meeting.

Blake was accompanied by the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis and the Political Secretary to the Embassy Paul Carter. According to Sambanthan a whole gamut of issues were discussed and views were exchanged during the meeting. “It was a cordial and constructive meeting in which we discussed a whole gamut of issues pertaining to the national questions in the past, present and future.” he said.

When asked as to the outcome of the meeting the TNA leader was non committal stating, “We don’t make decisions based on these meetings, however, we understood both positions and it was a very useful exchange of views.” Mr. Sambanthan stated that the LLRC report which was due in November was not a main feature of the agenda. “It was referred to in passing but it was not one of the main things we spoke about,” he said.

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