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Colombo sees attempts to derail democracy

[Hindu, Sunday, 21 February 2010 09:50 No Comment]

Sri Lanka on Saturday complained to two visiting envoys that some countries were channelling funds via international and local non-governmental organisations to destabilise democracy.

In separate meetings with Australian special envoy to Sri Lanka John McCarthy and Ambassador of Sudan Khidir Haroun Ahmed, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama conveyed the concern. Though he did not name any country, his remarks assume significance against the backdrop of a February 10 interview Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa gave to the Singapore-based Straits Times where he had talked about the alleged coup plans of the former Army Chief, retired General Sarath Fonseka.

“We are 100 per cent convinced that western countries with vested interests were backing him. Even the U.S., and countries like Norway, spent lots of money on his campaign.

“I have proof of the Norwegian government paying journalists to write against the government. They have vested interests and used to support the Tamil Tigers in various ways. They also supported Fonseka to try [to] oust the President,” he had told the paper.

The missions of the U.S. and Norway here had refuted the charges.

On Friday, a Foreign Ministry statement said the matter figured when U.S. Ambassador Patricia Butenis met Mr. Bogollagama. It quoted him as telling the American envoy that Colombo did not give any credence to the “palpable misinformation” concerning alleged moves involving the U.S., aimed at undermining the leadership of President Rajapaksa.

The Foreign Ministry said the Minister explained the envoys the political developments and said by accepting the resignation of General Sarath Fonseka, the President has removed barriers for the General to enter politics.

[Full Coverage]

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