Washington: The United States on Wednesday said it was currently focussed on the need for Sri Lanka to follow the necessary constitutional process to determine its leadership after a political crisis that has engulfed the Indian Ocean island nation since the abrupt firing of the prime minister by the country's president. Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in a dramatic turn of events last Friday.
Sirisena swore in a new Cabinet under Rajapaksa on Monday despite a warning from the parliament speaker of possible violence if lawmakers were not summoned immediately to resolve the crisis. "The US for now? We are focused on the need for Sri Lanka to follow the necessary constitutional process to determine its leadership," the State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Paladino told reporters at his daily news conference.
The US, he said, calls on the president in consultation with the speaker to reconvene parliament immediately and to allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfil their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government. "We urge all sides to uphold the law and to respect due process," he said, but sidestepped the question who the US recognizes as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
"The Sri Lankan constitution includes provisions on changes in the government and related authorities, and the implementation of those provisions is a matter for the elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people.
"It's up to the parliament to decide who the prime minister is," Paladino said.