The United States has turned down a request by the Defence Ministry to provide advanced training for Sri Lankan military officers, citing human rights concerns.
The Sunday Times learns that three lists containing names of senior officers were submitted to the US State Department for training at US military academies. U.S. Embassy spokesperson Jeff Anderson said facilities for such training programmes required certain assurances including the safeguarding of human rights.
“It is because of concerns in this area that some military cooperation with Sri Lanka has been suspended,” he said. However, Mr. Anderson added that the U.S. and Sri Lanka had a long tradition of partnership, which included cooperation between the two militaries. “That continues even today,” he said.
He pointed out that last month the U.S. military worked alongside the Sri Lanka Navy and the Air Force in providing humanitarian assistance to people in the Trincomalee district.
“Our military is also assisting in the de-mining efforts in the north,” he said.
Meanwhile military spokesperson Prasad Samarasinghe declined to comment on the issue saying that he was not aware of such a development.