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Archive for Sri Lanka

Newsline: India top diplomat visits Sri Lanka

India’s foreign minister arrives in Colombo on Thursday following his country’s backing of Sri Lanka for a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. India has told global lender IMF that it strongly supports Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring plan, with Colombo owing around $1 billion to its nearest neighbour. During his two-day visit, his third to Sri Lanka since 2021, minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will look to strengthen India’s ties with its debt-ridden neighbour and sign several key deals. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/india-foreign-minister-visits-sri-lanka-with-stronger-ties-china-focus-2023-01-19/) The two countries are also expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a renewable power project covering three islands in Sri Lanka’s north during Jaishankar’s visit, two sources at Sri Lanka’s power and energy ministry said. Jaishankar will meet Sri Lanka’s president on Friday morning, his office confirmed. He will also hold discussions with Sri Lanka’s prime minister and foreign minister, according to a statement from India’s foreign ministry.

Newsline: Sri Lankan Embassy official in Oman rejects sexual abuse allegations

The Third Secretary of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman E. Kushan is alleged to have committed sexual abuse, and engaged in the trafficking of Sri Lankan women for sex. However, he denies these claims and told ews 1st that these allegations are fabricated by a sex trafficking ring and have no ground. On Sunday (21) several former expats visited News 1st and expose startling detail. The Third Secretary of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman dismissed these allegations as baseless. He also completely reject allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. (https://www.newsfirst.lk/2022/11/21/embassy-official-rejects-sexual-abuse-allegations-woman-linked-to-sex-trafficking-bailed/) A total of three people have been arrested by Sri Lankan authorities for their links to the sex trafficking ring. Yet many Sri Lankan women who were subject to mental and physical trauma remain in a hostile environment overseas.

Newsline: Sri Lanka president holds talks with foreign diplomats on debt restructuring

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe held talks with foreign diplomats, the island nation’s government said in a statement on Thursday. (https://news.yahoo.com/sri-lanka-president-holds-talks-110646893.html) The talks focused on debt restructuring and the International Monetary Fund programme aimed to tackled the country’s economic crisis, according to the statement.

Newsline: Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry asks China to postpone ship visit after India protests

Sri Lanka says it has asked China to defer a planned visit of a Chinese ship to the island country after initially approving its arrival this week, yielding to diplomatic pressure from neighbour India to keep the military vessel out. Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said on July 12 it had approved the ship’s arrival for this month. “Subsequently in light of the need for further consultations, the ministry has communicated to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Colombo to defer the visit of the said vessel to the Hambantota port,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/9/sri-lanka-asks-china-to-postpone-ship-visit-after-india-protests) Asked about the controversy over the ship, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news briefing that China’s relations with Sri Lanka were “not targeted at third parties”. Wenbin told reporters it is “completely unjustified for certain countries to cite the so-called ‘security concerns’ to pressure Sri Lanka”. The Yuan Wang 5 was due to arrive on Thursday at the Chinese-built and leased Hambantota port in Sri Lanka’s south for five days for replenishment. It is currently sailing in the east Indian Ocean, according to Refinitiv Eikon. Foreign security analysts describe the Yuan Wang 5 as one of China’s latest generation space-tracking ships, used to monitor satellite, rocket and intercontinental ballistic missile launches. The Pentagon says Yuan Wang ships are operated by the Strategic Support Force of the People’s Liberation Army. India said late last month it was monitoring the planned visit of the ship, adding that New Delhi would protect its security and economic interests. India also lodged a verbal protest with the Sri Lankan government. New Delhi fears its bigger and more powerful rival China will use Hambantota as a military base in India’s back yard. The $1.5bn port is near the main shipping route from Asia to Europe.

Newsline: 20 people detained for George Floyd protest outside US Embassy in Colombo

Sri Lankan police on Tuesday arrested 20 people who who attempted to stage a protest outside the US Embassy. The arrested people were the activists of the Frontline Socialist Party. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/76283277.cms) They had gathered around the vicinity of the US Embassy. The police said they had obtained a court order preventing the gathering of protesters near the US embassy.

Newsline: Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Briefly Suspended From Twitter

The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka was temporarily banned from Twitter over what Twitter later claimed was a “systematic mistake,” that the embassy then chose to go on a little righteous rant about free speech needing to be honored. The Embassy put out a press release more or less saying the same thing: Twitter suspended the official account of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka (@ChinaEmbSL), without informing any specific reason. The Embassy made solemn representation to Twitter twice, requesting the latter to clarify and correct their decision, to avoid any misunderstanding and random association in the public. (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200420/17274544333/chinese-embassy-gets-briefly-suspended-twitter-insists-free-speech-must-be-honored-platform-banned-across-china.shtml) Twitter officially replied the Embassy for a “systematic mistake”, apologized and unsuspended the Embassy’s account. The Embassy feels regretful to this “systematic mistake”, and would like to reiterate that the “Freedom of Speech” must be honored, while not be misused to spread groundless, racial or hatred speech, nor be treated with “Double Standards”.

Newsline: Japanese, Sri Lankan Embassies Mull Evacuation of Citizens Amid Coronavirus Panic

The Japanese Embassy in Beijing said the initial evacuation is limited to those in Wuhan. Evacuees are expected to include employees of Honda Motor Co., Tokyo Electron, Aeon Co. and other Japanese companies operating in Wuhan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his Cabinet will designate the new coronavirus as an infectious disease subject to forced hospitalization and isolation. Such preventative measures appear to be in preparation for the evacuation. (https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/countries-evaluate-evacuation-of-citizens-amid-wuhan-coronavirus-panic/) Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing has applied for a Sri Lankan Airlines plane to be allowed to land at the Wuhan airport to airlift home 32 Sri Lankan students and their family members. The foreign ministry also said it was working to bring back all other Sri Lankan students throughout China. About 860 Sri Lankan students are in China.

Newsline: Swiss embassy employee in Sri Lanka granted bail

A court in Sri Lanka has granted bail to a Swiss embassy staff member who had been arrested two weeks ago on charges that she stoked anti-government sentiment and fabricated evidence, local media reported. The local television channel Sirasa reported her release, according to the Associated Press. The employee, a Sri Lankan national, claimed that she had been abducted on November 25 and threatened by her captors in an alleged effort to get her to disclose “embassy-related information”. (https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/diplomatic-spat—-_swiss-embassy-employee-in-sri-lanka-granted-bail/45463886) The incident took place a day after a senior Sri Lankan police officer arrived in Switzerland to apply for asylum. The Swiss government condemned the alleged attack as “unacceptable” and summoned the Sri Lankan ambassador. The Sri Lankan authorities have said they have evidence that contradicts the woman’s version of events. Prior to her arrest, a court blocked her from leaving the country. Upon her detention, Swiss diplomats appealed for her transfer to a hospital on health and humanitarian grounds. The Swiss foreign ministry also announced it would dispatch a Swiss diplomat, Jörg Frieden, to Colombo in a bid to break the diplomatic deadlock.

Newsline: Sri Lanka president says he is ‘victim’ of Swiss kidnap claim

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said Thursday the alleged kidnapping of a Swiss embassy staffer which triggered a diplomatic spat between Colombo and Bern had been concocted to discredit his election victory. (https://news.yahoo.com/sri-lanka-president-says-victim-swiss-kidnap-claim-130938877.html) A Sri Lankan national working for the Swiss mission in Colombo was arrested Monday for allegedly falsely claiming she had been abducted and sexually assaulted by unidentified attackers on November 25. The alleged abduction happened a day after a Sri Lankan police inspector investigating cases involving the Rajapaksa family sought asylum in Switzerland. Gotabaya Rajapaksa — who was elected president last month — told Colombo-based foreign correspondents Thursday that he was the real “victim” of the saga. “In this case, the victim is me because immediately after my election, this story came up,” he said, giving details of the Swiss embassy staffer’s movements on the day she claimed she was held against her will. “It is very clear it is a planned thing to discredit me and the government.” Rajapaksa said he did not believe the Swiss embassy itself had any role in making the allegations, and insisted he did not want anyone to create tensions between the two countries. Switzerland on Monday criticised the embassy worker’s arrest and “lack of due process in the case”, and asked for evidence that she had faked her claims. Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis also spoke to his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena about the case on Wednesday, his ministry said. Cassis informed Gunawardena that Bern had sent an experienced diplomat, Jorg Frieden, to oversee the efforts to clarify the facts and resolve the situation, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Newsline: Swiss raise alarm over ‘attack’ on Sri Lanka embassy employee

Swiss authorities have hit out at the detention of an employee of the country’s embassy in Sri Lanka, branding the development “grave and unacceptable”. A spokesman for Switzerland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that the embassy employee was “detained against her will on the street and threatened at length” in an attempt to pressure her into releasing information. “Switzerland views the incident as a very grave and unacceptable attack on one of its diplomatic missions and their employees,” the spokesman said. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/swiss-raise-alarm-attack-sri-lanka-embassy-employee-191128061621424.html) Switzerland reported the incident to Sri Lankan authorities, the spokesman added, and have called on them to launch an investigation into it. Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Switzerland was meanwhile, summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs.