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International concern over dissolution of Sri Lanka's parliament

The United States, UK, Australia and Canada were swift to express their concern at the Sri Lankan president's decision to dissolve parliament yesterday, warning that the move would undermine the country's international reputation. 

 

United States 

The US State Department's South and Central Asia desk tweeted: 

"The US is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, further deepening the political crisis.  As a committed partner of #SriLanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity." 

The US embassy in Sri Lanka warned there was much at stake and the latest move would serve to jeopardize Sri Lanka's economic progress and international reputation.

"President Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament poses a vital threat to Sri Lanka's democratic institutions. There is much at stake and such actions jeopardize Sri Lanka's economic progress and international reputation," the embassy said in a statement today. 

"We call on the President to respect his country's democratic tradition and the rule of law, and to fulfill the commitments to good governance and democracy upon which he and his government were elected." 

The newly appointed US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz tweeted: 

"Democracies rest on rule of law.  Sri Lanka’s constitution provides the framework for resolving political disputes, just like ours does."

In a joint letter to President Sirisena, US House Foreign Committee member, Elliot Engel, the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Sri Lanka and the House Democracy Partnership member, David Price warned the decision "could have an impact on the MCC program, US foreign assistance, and other US engagement and programs." 

United Kingdom 

The UK's minister of state for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field tweeted: 

"Concerned by news that #SriLanka’s Parliament has been dissolved days before it was due to be reconvened. As a friend of Sri Lanka, the UK calls on all parties to uphold the constitution and respect democratic institutions and processes."

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris tweeted: 

"British Govt concerned that #SriLanka Parliament dissolved days before it was to be reconvened and calls for respect for democratic institutions and processes. Step taken ignores calls from around the world, including UN & Commonwealth, that it should be allowed to meet and vote."

Canada

The Canadian government said, "Canada is deeply concerned by the decision to dissolve Sri Lanka’s Parliament. This further political uncertainty is corrosive to Sri Lanka’s democratic future and its commitments on reconciliation and accountability," in a tweet yesterday. 

Australia

Stating it was disappointed by Sirisena's decision, Australia's ministry of foreign affairs called on all parties to exercise restraint. 

"Australia has expressed its concern and disappointment with President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve the Sri Lankan parliament on 9 November.

As a longstanding friend, we believe this action undermines Sri Lanka’s long democratic tradition and poses a risk to its stability and prosperity.

We urge respect for the country’s democratic institutions and for all parties to continue to exercise restraint."

 

European Union 

The European Union's External Action spokesperson said it expected a "swift and peaceful" resolution to the crisis in line with the constitution.

"The decision of President Sirisena to dissolve the Sri Lankan Parliament ahead of its planned reconvening risks undermining public confidence in the country’s democratic institutions and processes and further deepens the political and economic crisis in the country. A fully functioning Parliament is an essential pillar of democracy.

As a longstanding supporter of a democratic Sri Lanka, the European Union expects a swift and peaceful resolution of the current crisis, in line with the Sri Lankan Constitution."

 

Norway

Norway's foreign minister, Eriksen Soreide said the country was "deeply concerned" by Sirisena's decision. 

"Norway is deeply concerned by President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve the #SriLanka parliament days before it was due to be reconvened. Norway calls on all parties to respect democratic institutions & continue to exercise restraint- FM #EriksenSoreide"