Washington, DC – The United States reiterated its call to the Sri Lankan government to resolve the constitutional crisis, precipitated by President Maithripala Sirisena sacking premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointing controversial Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.
In a statement titled “Recent Developments in Sri Lanka” Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesperson said, “The United States continues to follow developments in Sri Lanka with concern.”
Urging “all sides to refrain from intimidation and violence,” the statement said, “We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfill their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government.”
The surprise move by President Sirisena to replace premier Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa followed growing tensions between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe on several economic reforms and policy matters, including leasing of a port to neighboring India.
The crisis was precipitated as Premier Wickramasinghe was sacked after the president’s United People’s Freedom Alliance party (UPFA) quit the government. Reacting sharply to his sacking, Wickremesinghe asserted that the swearing-in of Rajapaksa is “illegal and unconstitutional.” But to counter these allegations of constitutional wrong-doing from the fired Premier Wickramasinghe, President Sirisena suspended the country’s parliament until November 16.
Earlier report: US, EU React As Sri Lanka Plunges into Political Crisis