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Archive for Sri Lanka

Newsline: Ambassador says US had no prior knowledge of Sri Lanka threat

The U.S. had no prior knowledge of the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 350 people, the American ambassador said Apr. 24, despite local claims that foreign officials had been warned an attack was looming. As the investigation into the Islamic State-claimed attack continues, FBI agents and U.S. military personnel are in Sri Lanka assisting the probe, Ambassador Alaina Teplitz said. While declining to say whether U.S. officials had intelligence on the local extremists and their leader who allegedly carried out the assault, Teplitz said America remained concerned over militants at large. She also said that “clearly there was some failure in the system” that caused Sri Lankan officials to fail to share the warnings they received prior to the attack. (https://www.kansas.com/news/nation-world/article229616629.html) “I can tell you definitively we were not warned and we did not have any prior knowledge of this,” Teplitz told foreign journalists from her office at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo. “We did not know because believe me, if we had, we would have tried to do something about it.”

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Newsline: US Embassy says FBI assisting Sri Lankan government with bombing investigation

The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka said early on Apr. 24 that FBI agents are inside the country to assist the in the investigation into the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 350 people. The FBI’s arrival comes a day after a Sri Lankan defense minister, citing a “preliminary investigation,” said the attack was carried out by Islamic extremists in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attacks that killed 50 people last month. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-embassy-fbi-assisting-sri-lankan-government-with-investigation-of-easter-bombings) The FBI’s assistance was part of the support extended by President Trump, the embassy said. The embassy did not immediately elaborate. Police said the death toll has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested. Sri Lankan officials have blamed the domestic militant group National Thowfeek Jamaath for the bombings and authorities revealed the little-known outfit likely received assistance in carrying out the horrific plot.

Newsline: Foreign ministry calls on Belgians in Sri Lanka to make themselves known

The Belgian ministry for foreign affairs has sent out a message to the Belgian citizens currently in Sri Lanka to get in touch to determine whether any was involved in the wave of explosions which took place on Sunday, cause more than 150 deaths and many more injuries. Posting on Twitter, the ministry wrote (in English): “Several blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka. If you are a Belgian citizen residing or travelling in Sri Lanka please inform the Embassy of Belgium in New Delhi that you are safe on 0091 98 10117931 or newdelhi@diplobel.fed.be.” (http://brusselstimes.com/world/15106/foreign-ministry-calls-on-belgians-in-sri-lanka-to-make-themselves-known) The six attacks targetted three hotels and three churches. The situation at the time of writing is still unclear, but local sources put the number of deaths at 156, including at least 35 foreigners, with at least 400 people injured. Those numbers could of course change as time goes by and more information becomes clear. Three hotels were hit in the capital, Colombo, including the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, situated close to the prime minister’s residence. The other explosions took place at the Shangri La and the Kingsbury. Foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders posted two messages on his own Twitter account. “The foreign ministry is contacting Belgians living or travelling in Sri Lanka to see if they are safe or require assistance. We are also in touch the local authorities to obtain information on any foreign casualties.” In another message he said he was “very saddened and shocked”.

Newsline: Russian embassy warns against visiting Maldives

The Russian Embassy in Sri Lanka has recommended Russians to refrain from visiting the Maldives because of unrest in that country, the embassy’s Consular Department whose area of responsibility includes the Maldives told TASS on Tuesday. “A signal has been sent to Moscow with recommendations to refrain from travelling to the Maldives in connection with certain unrest at the political level,” the embassy said. “To date, there have been no obvious threats, but there are preconditions for that.” On February 5, Maldivian President Abdullah Yamin declared a 15-day state of emergency in the country.

http://tass.com/society/988593

Newsline: War crimes suits against Sri Lankan ambassador in Brazil

Human rights groups in South America are alleging war crimes violations in lawsuits filed against a former Sri Lankan general who is now his Asian nation’s ambassador to Brazil and five other countries in Latin America. The suits against Jagath Jayasuriya are based on his role as a commander in the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009. They allege Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people. Jayasuriya has diplomatic immunity in the countries where he is ambassador: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname. But the groups pursuing the suits hope they will compel regional governments to expel him. Carlos Castresana Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the effort, told The Associated Press on Monday night that suits were filed Monday in Brazil and Colombia. Petitions also will be filed in Argentina, Chile and Peru in the coming days, he said, adding that authorities in Suriname refused to accept the suit.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article169906707.html

Newsline: Qatari Embassy in Colombo sees no need for evacuation of Sri Lankans

The Qatari Embassy in Colombo said on Tuesday that there were no plans of an emergency evacuation of 150,000 Sri Lankans in the Gulf state. The embassy advised Sri Lankans not to be misled by reports on emergency evacuation plans for the 150,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar, which the embassy dubbed as their “second home.” “Officials from Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and the embassy in Doha confirmed that there is no need for such measures as the diplomatic rift left no adverse impacts on the normal life of citizens and the expatriates as well,” the Qatari Embassy said. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar earlier this month after accusing the small Gulf state of supporting terrorism and aligning with Iran.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/20/c_136381052.htm

Newsline: Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to US released on bail

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya who was held in remand custody for allegedly misappropriating funds allocated for purchasing a building for the Sri Lankan Embassy in USA, was ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate. The suspect was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.50,000 with two sureties of one million rupees by Magistrate Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. He was further barred from leaving the country. The Financial Crimes and Investigations Division (FCID) alleged that the suspect had misappropriated the amount during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington 20008.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/article/1018681/former-sri-lankan-ambassador-jaliya-wickramasuriya-released-on-bail