Kerry speaks with Rajapaksa

John Kerry

Ahead of presidential elections, US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and expressed concern over violence in parts of the country during campaigning.

“The United States supports a free and fair electoral process in Sri Lanka that is credible, peaceful and inclusive,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.

“To that end, Secretary Kerry called the Sri Lankan President yesterday (Tuesday, January 6, local US time) to underscore the government’s responsibility to ensure the January 8th elections will be free from violence and intimidation and that the vote counting is carried out credibly and transparently,” Psaki said when asked about the violence in Sri Lanka ahead of the election.

Several human rights bodies have expressed concern over the increase in violence in Sri Lanka in the run up to the polls.

“Of course, he (Kerry) and we all had seen the reports that you referenced. We will continue to monitor the situation in Sri Lanka,” Psaki said.

“We urge the government, its election officials and police, all political and actors to ensure access to all vote centers for the voters to vote and counting centers for all international and domestic observers,” she said.

“We’re concerned about reports of violence and urge the government to ensure transparent and credible investigation into any allegation of fraud or violence,” she added. (PTI)