Not ‘summoned’: Our man in Washington

Right of reply

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA Jaliya Wickremasuriya responding to the news item under the heading “Angry US summons envoy” last week has sent the following response.

“As Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, I am deeply perturbed by the erroneous information your item provided to the Sunday readers.

“I was never summoned by the US State Department since the election of January 26, 2010. Nor did I have any reason to consult the State Department on what was mentioned in your news item. As such, it was a complete travesty of truth.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs me that the Sunday Times did not consult them related (sic) to this news item, and I would have appreciated if you verified his information with me prior to publishing same. I reiterate, I was never summoned by the State Department nor was I handed a protest note”.


It is clear that Mr. Jaliya Wickramasuriya’s only complaint is that he was never “summoned by the US Department of State”. If “summoned” is the wrong diplomatic phrase to have been used, he may be right.

However, the Sunday Times maintains unequivocally that the United States Government did raise issue with the Government of Sri Lanka on the issues revealed in the front page report last week. Strange enough, Mr. Wickramasuriya is silent on this aspect. The question is whether or not the Government of the United States lodged a protest or not. We say it did.

The Sunday Times said the United States has lodged strong protests with Sri Lanka over the arrest of opposition Presidential candidate retired General Sarath Fonseka and remarks attributed to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that the US funded the opposition’s campaign.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya was told that Gen. (retd) Fonseka should be dealt with according to the Sri Lanka law and that he be charged promptly or released. We admit, however that no protest note was handed over. But a protest message was verbally made nonetheless.

Mr.Wickramasuriya claims “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs me that the Sunday Times did not consult them related (sic) to this new item….”.

He will be surprised to know that an authoritative and unimpeachable source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs DID confirm to the Sunday Times that the US Government did raise the issues with him. The source, however, requested anonymity. Naturally, that would not be conveyed to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C.

Hence, the need for a retraction of the story does not arise. The Sunday Times stands by the accuracy of the story.

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