Friday, July 22, 2011


Clinton’s visit: A sigh of relief from SL

  • Friday, July 22, 2011
  • Arunthathi Kanagaratnam
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  • The Chennai visit by the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram were not as fiery as feared by the Sri Lankan government, a top External Affairs Ministry official said yesterday.

    He said the ministry had been alert to any negative fallout from Ms. Clinton’s meeting with Ms. Jayalalithaa and had expected a stronger statement than what was made by Ms. Clinton.

    “It is not as bad as we expected,” the official added.

    He said the news that a meeting had been arranged between Ms. Clinton and Ms. Jayalalithaa had been earlier denied by the Indian External Affairs Ministry.

    The official said from what had transpired between the two it appeared that the US was pushing India to take on a greater leadership role in the region and the lukewarm remarks on Sri Lanka also indicated US being aware of the close links between India and Sri Lanka.

    The official said no official comment could be made on Ms. Clinton’s visit to Tamil Nadu as the Sri Lankan government did not wish to comment on India-US relations as it was auxiliary to the direct ties between Sri Lanka, India and US.

    He said a final assessment on the absence of a powerful outcome from the meeting was testament to US’s lack of dominance in the region. Ms. Clinton who voiced concern on Wednesday over the plight of the internally displaced people in Sri Lanka told Ms. Jayalalithaa that the US was looking at innovative and creative ideas on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue

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