American Diplomat’s Visa on hold–Consensus or confrontation




Again it’s a visa controversy ,according to the  the US Embassy in Colombo the US Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell  has been refuse a visa. The External Affairs Ministry version is that the  visa was not rejected and that there was an issue with the dates.

Catherine Russell  was planning to make an official visit to Sri Lanka on 10-11 February .

The External Affairs Ministry said that both the US and Sri Lanka were attempting to reach a consensus on fresh dates as External Affairs Minister, Professor G.L. Peiris would not be available on the dates originally proposed by the US.

Russell was scheduled to travel to Jaffna during her two day visit and she has planned a visit just days after Assistant Secretary of state Nisha  Biswal left the country after making very strong statements against the country.

US Ambassador at Large on War Crimes Issues Stephen J. Rapp visited Sri Lanka last month.

It seems that the US is trying to keep up the pressure and Sri Lanka is signalling that its not willing to give in without resistance.

Meanwhile Minister Nimal Siripala said that the Government has gathered the support of several countries to defeat the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka .However the exact number of countries that would support Sri lanka is not known. It is speculated that the US would table a resolution only if it has adequate support.

A possible scenario would be that the US may have the ability to muster adequate support and   on the other hand Sri Lanka would be able  withstand the impact  of the resolution as it would not be strong one with any serious impact.

As the sponsors of the resolution are well aware that Presidient Rajapaksha’s popularity within the country is very high they may think that the best way to move forward is consensus building  rather than confrontation.

A watered down resolution may save face for the Americans and  still keep a space open for consensus building.

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