US Senator Rand Paul has hit out at the recently passed US coronavirus relief bill for a “bunch of socialist spending”, as he slammed the stimulus package’s international spending – highlighting how US$15 million has allegedly been allocated to “buy high speed boats for Sri Lanka”.
The bill, passed last month, is technically as part of a US$1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill with foreign aid.
The allocation for Sri Lanka comes under the ‘‘Foreign Military Financing Program’’ and sees “up to $15,000,000 may be made available for assistance for Sri Lanka for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter”. The funding is tied to programs to support humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and “instruction in human rights”.
The bill also mentioned how funding on Sri Lanka was to be tied to “investigating violations of human rights and holding perpetrators of such violations accountable; addressing land confiscation and ownership issues; resolving cases of missing persons and reducing the presence of the armed forces in former conflict zones”.
See the full text of the bill here.
Despite Sri Lanka’s record of human rights abuse, the United States continues to hold cordial relations with Sri Lanka’s military.
Last month, the US Defence Attaché toured the occupied Tamil homeland and met with the Sri Lankan military in Jaffna and Vanni, whilst the US navy sent a message of congratulations to Sri Lanka’s navy as it marked its 70th anniversary.