Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Sri Lanka Denies Reports Sirisena Said RAW Plotted Assassination

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Reaches New Delhi For Three Day Visit Sri Lankan President calls Modi, rejects assassination attempt reports
Patty Aguilar | 19 October, 2018, 14:47

Sri Lankan government on Wednesday rejected as "baseless and false" the media reports that President Maithripala Sirisena accused India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of plotting his assassination and he opposed awarding a key port project to India.

However, the Sri Lankan government issued an elaborate denial of the report and clarifications came from the highest level.

Interestingly, the Colombo-based Daily Mirror quoted the president's advisor and coordinating secretary Shiral Lakthilaka as saying that Sirisena did refer to an unnamed Indian intelligence service, but not RAW.

It said Mr Sirisena had made the statement at a cabinet meeting to the "shock" of assembled ministers.

Sirisena said he regards Modi as a "true friend of Sri Lanka" and a "close personal friend". M. Thomas, an Indian national who was arrested in September, claimed to have knowledge of the plot against Sirisena and former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as first stated by anti-corruption activist Namal Kumara.

A statement quoted him as saying that "mischievous and mala fide reports were utterly baseless and false, and seemed meant to create misunderstanding between the two leaders as well as damage the cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours".

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At the Cabinet meeting, Sirisena also hinted that Indian national must be "be a RAW agent" who was sent to kill him. Trump may not be aware of CIA's similar moves, Sirisena said according to The Hindu report.

Critics have said a big Chinese port project and related infrastructure in Sri Lanka's south have been dragging the country of 21 million people deep into debt. He also referred to his meeting with the Indian high commissioner in Colombo on Wednesday morning to discuss the matter.

The report claimed that the Sri Lankan Prime Minister had jumped to the defence of New Delhi during spat with Sirisena, noting that India was already carrying out most of the transshipment business at the Colombo port.

According to a statement released, Sirisena himself to Prime Minister Modi and assured that steps were being taken to denounce the false news.

While rejecting the media reports, the statement by Sri Lankan President's office admitted that discussions over progress of investigation into the alleged assassination plot and the development of a Colombo Port terminal did indeed take place at the cabinet meeting.

The two Prime Ministers are likely to review the status of the India-assisted housing projects in Sri Lanka's Jaffna during Mr Wickremesinghe's visit.

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