Senior US policy figure, Samantha Power urged the US to consider suspending aid and imposing targeted sanctions on Sri Lanka, in response to the island’s ongoing political crisis.
“The dangers of [Sri Lanka] constitutional crisis are clear: violence is possible & Rajapaksa’s return to power ‘will likely end flagging efforts at ethnic reconciliation,’” Power posted on Twitter, quoting from an International Crisis Group (ICG) briefing.
“Where is US diplomacy? [Sri Lanka] must know suspending aid [and] targeted sanctions [are] on the table,” she said.
The US and the UN, as well as several other international actors, have called on Sri Lanka to reconvene Parliament to resolve the political crisis, in which Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena appointed the war crimes-accused former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister last week, in a move which has widely been called ‘unconstitutional’.
The threat of international sanctions would be required to protect at-risk ethnic groups, ICG said in its briefing.
Power, who has held several senior US positions including ambassador to the UN, was a key figure in the Obama administration. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book 'A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide', which examined US foreign policy in response to genocide.