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Fonseka paved way for Intl. interference – Govt.

The Government yesterday said former Chief of Defence Staff and opposition’s common candidate for the presidential election, General (Retd) Sarath Fonseka had paved the way for international interferences in the country. It not only applies to the Sri Lankan Army but also causes serious damage to the image of the country.

Addressing a press conference at Mahaweli Centre Colombo, Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said this is what the West was awaiting for a long time. "The UN Human Rights Council was set to punish us just after the war ended, but Sri Lanka defeated the proposal. Then, the US Senate charged that war crimes took place during the final battle against the LTTE. However, all efforts to suppress Sri Lanka were unsuccessful. Now Fonseka has paved the way for new interference," he said.

The United Nations has, following allegations made by Gen. Fonseka, on war crimes against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Major General Shavendra Silva, called for an explanation from Sri Lanka on the deaths of leading LTTE cadres during the final stages of Eelam war IV in May this year. Fonseka was reported to have made these allegations during an interview reported by The Sunday Leader of December 13.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Phillip Alston, has requested the government to provide explanations with regard to the circumstances leading to the deaths of three senior LTTE cadres and their families during the final stages of military operations against the LTTE.

Professor Peiris said that this is not only a threat to the 58 division of Sri Lankan Army but also the entire defence forces. Security forces members may have to face several difficulties when they are travelling abroad for any specific need such as medicine, training or private tour.

This is also a major threat to the GSP+ concession. The only demand to extend the GSP+ is the human rights factor.

"Close friends of the LTTE are still operating overseas. They are cash rich financially and they possess a sophisticated communication network. Their ambition is suppressing the Sri Lankan government. We feel ashamed at Gen. Fonseka’s behaviour as former commander of the Army," he said.

The Minister said that nobody would contest an election expecting defeat. All candidates want to win. But, there are certain things one must do and not do.

Prof. Peiris said that the government has already alerted all heads of Sri Lankan missions abroad on the measures to be adopted by way of response to the UN charges.

Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that Sri Lanka Army is recognised by UN and they recruited about 1,000 Sri Lankan soldiers to the UN Peace Keeping Mission for six months. "Our soldier receives about 100,000 Sri Lankan rupees from UN mission. But, Fonseka’s allegations now become a major threat when recruiting our soldiers to the UN mission in future."

Alahapperuma said that Fonseka made these allegations not only to the Sunday Leader, but also to all foreign media personnel.

Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa addressing the press said that this is first time the UN drew attention to a matter regarding the recently concluded humanitarian mission against LTTE terrorism.

"We can’t take this issue as a publicity element of the forthcoming presidential election. This is a very serious matter regarding the country’s sovereignty. Fonseka betrayed the nation’s victory against LTTE terrorism," Weerawansa said.

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