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SL Govt lauds work of Indian envoy

india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 04:35 IST
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The Sri Lankan government officially stated on Friday, that Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike’s remarks against the Indian High Commissioner Nirupama Rao did not reflect its views and that it was "deeply appreciative" of the envoy's "pro-active" role in promoting Sri Lanka-India ties. 
 
"The Government of Sri Lanka is deeply appreciative of the pro-active role of High Commissioner Nirupama Rao in further enhancing Indo-Sri Lanka relations upon taking up her appointment in Sri Lanka," Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera said. 
 
Anura Bandaranaike’s views "did not reflect the view of the Government of Sri Lanka," the Foreign Minister said.
 
In a meandering speech in parliament on Wednesday, Bandaranaike accused the "pretty" Indian envoy of interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and asked her to stop doing it and concentrate on running her mission. He had warned her against becoming another JN Dixit, who in the 1980s, was known in Sri Lanka as "Viceroy".

Distancing the government from this view, the Foreign Minister said, "Since the assumption of office by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the face of many challenges, India continued to support Sri Lanka's efforts to achieve peace and security while preserving the country’s territorial integrity and this should be appreciated by all right minded Sri Lankans.” 
 
Earlier, the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa had disassociated himself from Bandaranaike’s remarks in a telephonic conversation with the Indian envoy. He also sent his brother and advisor Basil Rajapaksa to personally convey this to Rao.
 
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs expressed its displeasure about the Sri Lankan minister’s remark and came out strongly in support of the Indian High Commissioner.

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