US helped destroy some LTTE ‘floating arsenals’-President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Monday (Oct 9), responding to criticism that Sri Lanka’s foreign relations were in shambles and the country isolated internationally, declared that the United States of America had helped Sri Lanka to wipe out the LTTE shipping fleet.

An irate President said that the US had alerted Sri Lanka to the presence of LTTE ‘floating arsenals’ on the high seas. This confirmed the recent revelation by The Island that a foreign power had helped the Sri Lanka Navy to destroy four of the eight ships, including three sunk in a two-day operation in 2007, causing a severe setback to the LTTE.

He said that contrary to condemnation of his foreign policy, the country had received the support of many foreign countries to defeat the LTTE. All of them had sold arms, ammunition and equipment to Sri Lanka.

The President was responding to queries raised by a group of journalists, representing the print and electronic media, during a three-hour press meet at Temple Trees telecast live over both state and private television networks.

The President said that the government had succeeded in maintaining its foreign relations. Appreciating the support extended by Pakistan, China and India for Sri Lanka’s war against LTTE terrorism, the President said that some questioned his ability to meet the LTTE threat. Others said that the LTTE could not be defeated by what he termed Medamulana strategy. To the credit of their foreign policy the country had managed to receive the support of many countries though some of them desperately tried to throw a lifeline to the LTTE. The Many countries and organisations had intervened on behalf of the LTTE at the height of the war though the government did not succumb to international pressure he said.

He recalled the extremely difficult and unfavourable economic conditions under which his government had to wage war against a well entrenched enemy. The government launched new development initiatives and provided employment to over 300,000 persons though the war sapped the economy.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the government had successfully battled the LTTE both here and overseas. Referring to the arrest of Kumaran Padmanathan aka ‘KP’ he said that the government was continuing operations to destroy their international network though the LTTE no longer posed a military challenge.

Minister A. L. M. Athaulla said that the Rajapaksa administration had not received any support at all from the Opposition. Praising the President and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for their leadership, he said that people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces had been finally liberated from the LTTE. He asserted that the Opposition could not understand the ground realities though the people of the Eastern Province appreciate what the government had achieved against tremendous odds. "We are finally free. Our children are now free to attend school." People flock to Trincomalee and other eastern towns to enjoy life. Former LTTE commander turned UPFA MP Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran aka Karuna, too, explained the rapid development taking place in the East after the liberation of the province.

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