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'No US base in Trincomalee'

Sri Lankan government denied reports that the United States intends to set up a missile base in the key naval port of Trincomalee.

world Updated: Jan 22, 2009 07:54 IST

Sri Lankan government on Wednesday denied reports that the United States intends to set up a missile base in the key naval port of Trincomalee.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Parliament that there was no move by the US to station missiles on the country's soil and there had been no discussion between Colombo and Washington in this regard.

The minister, who was replying to allegations levelled by JVP Member of Parliament Anura Dissanayake, said senior officials of US Pacific Fleet Command, led by Major General Tomas L Konent, had visited Sri Lanka for a briefing on war against Tamil tiger militants and on an humanitarian mission.

"The objective of their visit is to engage in a school rehabilitation project in the eastern province and not to carry out any military operations in Sri Lanka," Bogollagama was quoted as saying by the State run Daily News.

"Both the US Pacific Fleet Command and USAID will fund the project. This is a humanitarian project and will be implemented to improve the social and economic standards of the people living in the Eastern Province", the minister said.

The team also had bilateral discussions on the current security situation with the heads of the Sri Lankan Security Forces.