China slams US ‘meddling in Sri Lanka internal affairs’

Updated 12 February 2014
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China slams US ‘meddling in Sri Lanka internal affairs’

BEIJING: China’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday offered support for Sri Lanka after the United States said it would table a UN resolution against Colombo over its human rights record.
“China opposes some countries’ interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka under the pretext of human rights issues,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Sri Lankan counterpart G. L. Peiris in Beijing.
China backs the Sri Lankan government in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Wang said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
“We believe in the Sri Lankan people’s wisdom and capacity to handle their own affairs,” Wang added.
Sri Lanka this month rejected US criticism of its human rights record as “grossly disproportionate,” after a senior US official said Washington would table a UN resolution against the country.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, which finally crushed a 26-year rebellion by ethnic minority Tamil separatists in 2009, has rejected calls for an international inquiry into atrocities during the civil war.
China has increasingly tight ties with Sri Lanka, funding airports, roads, railways and ports, which has unsettled India, traditionally Sri Lanka’s closest economic partner.
The island of 21 million people just off India’s southern tip has become a front in the competition between the Asian giants China and India.


‘Unprecedented’ crackdown on crime welcomed by Afghans

Updated 13 min 5 sec ago
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‘Unprecedented’ crackdown on crime welcomed by Afghans

  • Interior Minister Amruallah Saleh's first act was to order his subordinates to ignore the long-standing tradition of presenting politicians with flowers and gowns when they are promoted
  • Saleh has also banned politicians and lawmakers from traveling with their ubiquitous security details (

KABUL: When Amruallah Saleh took office as Afghanistan’s interior minister last month, he wasted no time setting out his stall. His first act was to order his subordinates to ignore the long-standing tradition of presenting politicians with flowers and gowns when they are promoted.

“Lay down the flowers that you have bought as gifts for me on the graves of martyrs who you know from the security forces,” he said in a speech after assuming office last month. “Put the gown that you have bought for me on the shoulders of the broken-hearted fathers of the fallen.”

He went on to discuss his determination to act “mercilessly against criminals and the enemy.” At the time, many assumed Saleh’s comments to be the usual empty political promises so often heard from Afghan politicians assuming office in recent years, particularly as attacks by militants and criminal activity increased in Kabul in the early weeks of Saleh’s tenure. 

However, it seems as though Saleh, a former spymaster, is making good on his promise. The joint measures he has instigated with Kabul’s police chiefs to crack down on crime — including naming and shaming those wanted for involvement in criminal activity — have been a success. Some arrests have already been made, and a number of individuals on the blacklist have reportedly turned themselves in for questioning.

“He has shown decisiveness and courage by naming some of the culprits. That in itself is an initiative that has made people optimistic,” security analyst and retired general Attiqullah Amarkhail told Arab News.

Saleh has also banned politicians and lawmakers from traveling with their ubiquitous security details (usually traveling in a convoy of blacked-out vehicles) inside Kabul. Unsurprisingly, that move has attracted criticism from some senators, but has been welcomed by residents and other politicians.

Zaki Nadery, a Kabul resident, said the nation was “thirsty for reform” and that people already feel more secure in the city now that steps have been taken against lawbreakers, a sentiment echoed by several people interviewed by Arab News.

“People now have a relative sense of psychological and mental security. This is the result of tangible results from the work of the new minister. People have begun to trust and respect the police,” Nadery said.