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US, Norway deny funding ouster of SLanka president

[AFP, Saturday, 16 January 2010 11:44 No Comment]

The two countries said they were ready to work with whomever won the January 26 election The United States and Norway on Saturday denied funding Sri Lanka’s main opposition to defeat President Mahinda Rajapakse’s re-election bid later this month.

The US embassy in Colombo said it "strongly" rejected the charges made by a ruling party legislator that he was given 30 million rupees (265,000 dollars) that had come from the US and Norwegian embassies to defect to the opposition.

Legislator Mohamed Musammil told reporters in Colombo Friday that he was given a suitcase full of the cash to defect and support the main opposition presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka.

"This is the money which had come from the US embassy, the Norwegian embassy," Musammil said.

The US and Norwegian embassies in separate statements denied the allegation and said they were ready to work with whomever won the January 26 election. The two countries had backed Colombo’s failed peace bid with Tamil separatists.

"The United States is neutral and we strongly condemn allegations that we are supporting one side over another," the US statement said.

Norway, which was the peace broker until the Rajapakse administration withdrew from a faltering truce and escalated a military campaign against the Tigers early last year, denied it was funding the opposition in Colombo.

"The accusation is untrue and totally unacceptable," the Norwegian embassy said in a statement. "Norway has never — and will never — interfere in an election in another country."

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