Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

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Archive for July, 2010

Reading the riot act to Bob Blake

Posted by harimpeiris on July 29, 2010

Robert O. Blake, better known as Bob, currently US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and formerly the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka was on a official visit to Sri Lanka last week. He held discussions with his interlocutors in government, met a range of other people and then generally made his views known about the need for post war ethnic reconciliation (through a political solution) and good governance including greater democratic freedoms (through the 17th Amendment). For expressing these candid views, Bob Blake was publicly chided and rebuked by Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister, the Hon. Kheliya Rambukwella, who stated that no one had the right to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. Bob Blake was virtually read the riot act by Minister Rambukwella, a quaint piece of colonial era legislation in which colonial authorities would read an order that an action was illegal and then proceed to use lethal force to stop it.

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A TNA Solution to the UN Panel

Posted by harimpeiris on July 28, 2010

The past week was certainly a bad one for Sri Lanka from a foreign relations standpoint. Firstly Sri Lanka received the news that despite much lobbying, the UN Secretary General had proceeded with the appointment of a panel of experts to assist and advice him on issues regarding Sri Lanka. Then there was the missive by the European Union giving fifteen conditions the government must pledge in writing to fulfill in order to receive a conditional six month extension of the GSP plus trade benefits.

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Mahinda lends Ranil a helping hand – and helps himself in the process

Posted by harimpeiris on July 22, 2010

If politics was a boxing match, it would be totally wrong to say that President Mahinda Rajapakse was knocked down to the mat, it would be even incorrect to claim that he was thrown against the ropes but it would be correct to claim that he paused and perhaps even took a step back in the pursuit of removing the constitutional restrictions on his ability to hold the office of the presidency indefinitely. It was the first political pause or set back, post war and post elections, for President Mahinda Rajapakse.

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Wimal and the UN Experts Panel

Posted by harimpeiris on July 15, 2010

The excellent political theatre that was dished out on Baudhaloka Mawatha, by the Hon.Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Housing, Construction and Common Amenities, brought into stark focus and public consciousness the very real issue of the UN Secretary General’s Expert Panel on Sri Lanka. The Cabinet level street drama itself ended rather predictably, the only missing aspect being the absence of calls by religious leaders, that the honorable minister and self proclaimed fivefold weapon of the motherland, should save himself for future service to the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Making the case for Sajith Premadasa

Posted by harimpeiris on July 8, 2010

UNP Reforms

Several days ago, the UNP reforms committee, headed by party senior and former speaker Joseph Michael Perera, handed over its report to long serving UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe. The reforms committee was the UNP’s response to its worst ever electoral showing in terms of percentage of the popular vote and resulted in relegating it to the opposition benches for the next half decade. In any democracy, the opposition has a vital role to play, essentially as a check and balance against attempted excesses of the government and hence the health and vitality of the UNP is of interest not only to its supporters but also to the general public.

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