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US concerned by Sri Lanka snap polls

AFP  |  Washington 

The voiced concern Saturday after Sri Lanka's ordered elections, as lawmakers warned that US aid was in question.

Maithripala Sirisena, who two weeks ago sparked a crisis by sacking the and installing former authoritarian leader in his place, signed a decree for elections to be held January 5, nearly two years ahead of schedule.

"The US is deeply concerned by the parliament will be dissolved, further deepening the political crisis," the said in a statement on

"As a committed partner of Sri Lanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity," it said. The of the warned Sirisena he was jeopardizing US assistance including a package under discussion through the Millennium Challenge Cooperation, which supports countries that observe democratic norms.

"Unfortunately, we fear that recent actions, if not corrected, will threaten your country's democratic development and derail the progress made in recent years," said the letter to Sirisena.

It was signed by three lawmakers including Eliot Engel, who is set to take charge of the following the victory.

Sri Lanka's relations with the West have warmed significantly since the 2015 electoral defeat of Rajapakse, who as crushed the long-running Tamil Tiger insurgency.

He refused to acknowledge any human rights abuses in the final campaign, in which rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians died. But Rajapakse is short of votes in parliament to return to power as and the sacked, Western-friendly premier, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has refused to back down.

An ally of Wickremesinghe has accused of financing defections toward Rajapakse, who has pursued close cooperation with has denied the allegations.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 04:45 IST