Govt. succumbs to pressure from Britain:
President fails to prevent recall of military attache



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Brig. Priyankara Fernando


by Shamindra Ferdinando


The government has, under heavy pressure from the UK, carried out its decision to recall Sri Lanka’s military attache in London, Brig. Prinyankara Fernando, despite a presidential intervention. When the government announced its decision to recall the brigadier, following an incident where he allegedly made a throat slitting gesture in front of a group of British LTTE supporters of Sri Lankan origin, in London, on Feb. 04, President Sirisena, ordered that he be reinstated.


Sources said the UK had called for swift action again the military attache.


The LTTE supporters protested near the Sri Lankan High Commission in London while Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex were in Colombo for Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.


Sources said that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had informed the influential Global Tamil Forum (GTF) of immediate measures taken by the UK following the incident.


Brig. Fernando returned on Thursday (Feb. 22) hours after the GTF was informed of the specific measures taken by the British government against over the Feb. 4 incident.


Suren Surendiran, on behalf of the GTF on Feb.10, complained to Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson of the incident. The GTF urged the UK to declare the officer persona non grata.


Responding to the GTF’s plea, the South Asia Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Feb. 22 assured Surendiran that the UK took the incident ‘very seriously’ and Minister for South Asia personally got in touch with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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