SL envoy summoned by State Dept

PM’s remarks on Monica Lewinsky attract US Protest
By Our Diplomatic Editor

The United States has lodged a “strong protest” to Sri Lanka over remarks by Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, on state radio that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has forgotten the “Monica Lewinsky episode” and should “put her house in order.”

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Jaliya Wickremasuriya, was summoned to the Department of State to be told of the US Government’s displeasure. Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asian Affairs, had expressed ”great concern” over the remarks and wanted to know whether this was the official position of the Government of Sri Lanka.

The call for the meeting had come on Thursday, just a day after Premier Wickremanayake had made the remarks. There was no immediate word on the official response of the Government.

The US protest is the latest turn of events after US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who chaired the UN Security Council a week ago remarked, “we’ve seen rape used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.”

On Wednesday, the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation’s (SLBC) Subharti programme featured Premier Wickremanayake. He fielded questions on a number of subjects. According to a recording heard by the Sunday Times, when asked about Ms. Clinton’s remarks, he replied in Sinhala “Meka Maara Magulak ne. Clinton nonata Monica gena amathakawela. (This is a hell of a problem. Ms. (Hillary) Clinton has forgotten the Monica Lewinsky episode it seems). He said Ms. Clinton should put “her house in order without trying to live in a glass house and pelt stones at others.”

The Prime Minister’s office later issued a statement based on Mr. Wickremanayake’s comments to SLBC. However, the references about Monica Lewinsky were left out. It only said that Ms. Clinton should put her house in order.

Following angry reactions from Government leaders over Ms. Clinton’s remarks, three different US officials issued “clarifications.” The first came from US Ambassador Patricia Butenis who said Secretary Clinton’s remark “was to raise awareness of such brutality, not to implicate specific perpetrators.”

Melanie Verveer, Ambassador at large for Global Women’s Issues, said in a letter to Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama that “in the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009,….we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war…”

Later, P.J. Crowley, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, said the reference the Secretary made …. was to “very well documented reports of significant levels of rape that were documented (sic) through, I think, 2002 or 2003 in a variety of reports including State Department reports and also reports done by Amnesty International.”

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other News Articles
SL envoy summoned by State Dept
Indian MPs here to go where Lankan MPs can’t
Visit to east cancelled
IMF reviews vote on account
Average turnout at Southern polls
Pak team on Tiger trail
Seeking gems while building rural roads?
Kandy lawyers protest high-handed action of cops
UNP to boycott State ‘political’ events
Inter-monsoon period setting in
Political tussle leads to seminar cancellation
Duo nabbed for running bogus kachcheri
Tamil and Muslim parties shed differences for the sake of IDPs
Media snubbed by Mayor
Ejected hawkers back in business
Invasive plant eating into farm land
Talk at the Cafe Spectator
Fire and fury all the way
After the violence, a show of voter apathy
Grads vow to protest till jobs are found
Lanka - US in diplomatic ding - dong duel
Official lethargy and woes of the fisher community
Deniyaya ire and Anamaduwa fire
Human trafficking gets passing mention in UN report


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2009 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution