US concerned by dissolving of Sri Lankan Parliament

The United States voiced concern Friday after Sri Lanka’s president ordered snap elections, as lawmakers warned that US aid was in question.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who two weeks ago sparked a crisis by sacking the prime minister and installing former leader Mahinda Rajapakse 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 news the Sri Lanka parliament will be dissolved, further deepening the political crisis,” the US State Department said in a statement on Twitter.

“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 incoming head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee 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 Representative Eliot Engel, who is set to take charge of the House committee following the Democratic Party’s election victory.