The United States has clearly indicated that it has serious concerns over Sri Lankan Government s growing ties and diplomatic relations with anti-US axis, with countries like China, Iran and Russia.
It is learnt that the US State Department has already displayed its displeasure over Sri Lanka s bilateral relationship with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad s administration.
Despite, the Iranian President s scheduled state visit to Sri Lanka in April, the US State Department conveyed its displeasure to Colombo through diplomatic channels.
The high ranking Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry officials in Colombo downplayed the importance of Sri Lanka s close ties with Iran as traditional bilateral diplomatic relations between two independent countries.
We learn that the US State Department is totally satisfied with Sri Lankan Government s diplomatic response, diplomatic sources said.
During his state visit, President Ahmadinejad is expected to visit the water power plant project in Uma Oya and other projects developed with the help of Iranian grants.
During President Mahinda Rajapaksa s visit to Tehran in November 2007, the Iranian Government agreed to grant a US$ 1.6 billion line of credit, primarily to help Sri Lanka buy Iranian oil.
Iranian line of credit is the biggest single foreign grant, which Sri Lanka has received during the last few years.
Rajapaksa discussed regional and international issues including Palestine and the expansion of bilateral ties between Tehran and Colombo, during his trip.
He also met with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and some high-ranking officials.
China and Russia are Sri Lanka s main arm suppliers.
According to Jane s Defence News, Sri Lanka has already advanced talks with Russia over the procurement of five new MiG-29 fighter aircraft.
Last year, Chinese Government s assistance has grown to nearly US$1 billion, eclipsing Sri Lanka s long-time biggest donor, Japan.
Last week, The New York Times, discussed the new development with Sri Lanka s Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona. He admitted that Sri Lanka s traditional donors namely, the United States, Canada and the European Union, had receded into a very distant corner, to be replaced by countries in the East. Foreign Secretary Kohona gave three reasons: The new donors are neighbours they are rich and they conduct themselves differently. Asians don t go around teaching each other how to behave, he said. There are ways we deal with each other perhaps a quiet chat, but not wagging the finger.
In January, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriation Act 2008, which was passed by the US Congress, banned the supply of military equipment and services to Sri Lanka.
According to this Act, before any military supplies are made to Sri Lanka, the Secretary of State should certify that Colombo has improved its human rights record in certain specific areas.