The United States said on Friday that it would refuse entry to the Sri Lankan army chief because of "credible" evidence of human rights violations in the bloody final of the 2009 civil war.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, whose appointment caused widespread international criticism last year, will not be eligible to visit the United States, nor will his immediate family, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
"The allegations of serious human rights violations against Shavendra Silva documented by the United Nations and other organizations are serious and credible," said Pompeo in a statement.
"We urge the Sri Lankan government to promote human rights, hold people accountable for war crimes and violations, promote security sector reform, and honor their other commitments to pursue justice and reconciliation," he said.
Silva was the commanding officer of an army division in the island's northern war zone in the last few months of the 2009 military offensive against Tamil tiger rebels.
According to human rights groups, around 40,000 ethnic Tamils were killed in atrocities when government forces conquered the predominantly Tamil north of Sri Lanka.
The United Nations said in a report on the allegations that Silva played an important role in orchestrating war crimes.
The 2009 offensive killed the Tamil Tigers, whose campaign for a separate homeland, which had lasted almost four decades, had killed 100,000 people and was marked by the bloody suicide bombings by the rebels.
Pompeo nevertheless said that the United States hoped to maintain security cooperation with Sri Lanka, which was shaken by bombings by Islamist extremists on Easter Sunday last year.
"We greatly appreciate our partnership with the Sri Lankan government and the longstanding democratic tradition that we share with the Sri Lankan people," said Pompeo.
Successive Sri Lankan governments have opposed calls for an independent investigation into troop behavior in the final months of the conflict.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)