2ND LEAD

USA wishes joint celebrations, engages in joint operations

[TamilNet, Friday, 16 April 2010, 15:20 GMT]
The US embassy in Colombo carried a statement Monday from Secretary Clinton, greeting ‘Sinhala and Tamil New Year,’ and saying that this year, for the first time in decades, Sri Lankans from all parts of the island can celebrate together in a peaceful and united country. This is an opportunity for ‘Sri Lankans’ living inside and outside of the country to renew bonds and the US is eager to support them in this journey, the statement said. On Friday the US embassy announced joint operations of the US and Sri Lankan militaries in ‘humanitarian exercises’ in Trincomalee. “The joint exercise helped members from our two militaries to exchange best practices on how to address complex humanitarian challenges,” said Defence Attache of the US embassy.

It was a gloomy New Year for Eezham Tamils inside and outside of the island. The US State Department would do much better in its reconciliation with Tamils by not coming out with statements irritating the wounded, responded Tamil circles.

What is now the big idea behind subjecting Tamils to the ‘humanitarian subjugation’ of the occupying forces, when the USA was unable to carry out ‘joint humanitarian exercise’ when it was needed the most, asked a veteran human rights activist from the East.

Engaging the occupying Sinhala military in 'post-traumatic' care of Tamil civilians, while extensive and permanent military cantonments are established in the conquered land, is viewed with serious concern by Tamil circles.

They allege that the powers are experimenting in the island a 'military solution' to the national question, taking advantage of the military and political power-vacuum of Tamils.

A few days back Indian navy conducted joint naval exercises with Sri Lanka Navy in the harbour of Trincomalee.

Both India and USA have long been grooming the Sri Lankan military with training and familiarisation processes. Both have sympathetic cadres inside the Sri Lankan military.

For powers poking their noses a major allure of the island today is its bloating military, observers in Colombo said.

Full text of the statements released by the US Embassy in Colombo follow:

Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Greeting

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON

Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Greeting

On behalf of President Barack Obama and the American people, I congratulate Sri Lankans around the world as you celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Every year this celebration brings the hope of new beginnings and fresh promise, but this year it carries added resonance. For the first time in decades, Sri Lankans from all parts of the island can celebrate together in a peaceful and united country. This is an opportunity for Sri Lankans of all backgrounds, living inside and outside the country, to renew their bonds and work together to build a prosperous, democratic nation defined by tolerance and respect for human rights. The United States is eager to support you in this journey and to build even stronger ties of friendship between our people.

I offer my warmest wishes for a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Following is the statement issued by the US Embassy in Colombo on Friday:

U.S. and Sri Lankan Militaries Participate in Joint Humanitarian Exercise

Colombo, April 16, 2010: Members of the Sri Lankan military joined with colleagues from the U.S. Navy to conduct a joint humanitarian exercise in Trincomalee. The event also included civilians from the Disaster Management Centre and the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, who conducted a seminar in disaster preparedness and medical response with US military officials from Special Operations Command Pacific. The focus of the exercise was humanitarian assistance. The training included advanced trauma medical care and the safe disposal of unexploded ordnance, coping with post-traumatic stress, and preventive health care. The joint teams of US and Sri Lankan military personnel and civilian health workers worked with people from 27 rural communities and visited over 700 families in Sri Lanka.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Larry Smith, U.S. Defense Attache, “The joint exercise helped members from our two militaries to exchange best practices on how to address complex humanitarian challenges.” He continued, “U.S. and Sri Lanka have a long tradition of cooperation. We hope this partnership can be expanded.”

 

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