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CBK: ‘I am SLFP Chairperson’

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Former President Kumaratunga and her sister Sunethra arriving at the statue of their late father and SLFP founder, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, yesterday

 ‘Sirisena holding the post unlawfully’

By Sujeewa Thathsara

Former President Maithripala Sirisena is holding on to the post of SLFP Chairman unlawfully, party’s Mentor, former president Chandrika Bandaranaike yesterday said after offering flowers to the statue of the SLFP founder and her late father, S. W. R. D Bandaranaike, before the official event to mark his 122 birth anniversary.

Kumaratunga said that she was still the SLFP Chairman and that due to the actions of Sirisena the SLFP had gone astray. She said that she had not left the SLFP and that she was aware Sirisena had instructed party officials not to invite her to any of the events organized by the SLFP.

“Sirisena has sold the SLFP to the SLPP. I will never leave the SLFP. I know some people are counting the days until I do. But they are mistaken.”

 

The former President said that a year back, she had told Sirisena that the SLFP should be strengthened.’She said: “Instead of working to strengthen the party, Sirisena is trying to sideline me. I wasn’t even invited to this event. But I came anyway because I care.”

A journalis: “Have you joined the UNP”?

Kumaratunga: “I haven’t. It is Sirisena went to the UNP headquarters five times. He went there and said he wanted to address Ranil Wickremesinghe as ‘Sir.’ I have never gone to the UNP HQ.”

Former President Sirisena also spoke to the media after offering flowers to the S.W.R.D Bandaranaike statue.

There was an argument between two groups of the SLFP after a Colombo District SLFP MP and his supporters removed the two bouquets of flowers laid by Chandrika and her sister Sunethra. Another group said it was not ethical to remove the flowers placed by the daughters of S.W.R.D Bandaranaike. Later, the two garlands were allowed to remain there, and Sirisena and the SLFP stalwarts paid a floral tribute to the statue.

A Journalist: “Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike arrived before the commencement of the official event and offered flowers. Why is that? Wasn’t she invited?”

Sirisena: “She has come before the event. I am thankful that she came.”

A Journalist: “She said you are holding to the post of SLFP Chairman unlawfully and that she would not accept your leadership?”

Sirisena: “She said? But there is no dispute among us. We all work together.”



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President Ranil Wickremasinghe calls upon chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters

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(pic courtsey Divaina)

President Ranil Wickremasinghe called upon the chief prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters on Thursday (02) morning to seek their blessings ahead of the 75th Independence day celebrations.

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US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) was in the Philippines to finalise the deal (picture BBC)

BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.

The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.

The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.

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Nuland accuses China of failing to help SL with ‘credible and specific assurances’ acceptable to IMF

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Nuland addressing the media in Colombo (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

US hopes LG polls will be held in March

By Saman Indrajith

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, yesterday said China had not provided credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.

Addressing the media in Colombo, Nuland said: “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief. We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.”

Nuland said that India and the Paris Club had given strong assurances to the IMF to help Sri Lanka to obtain a $2.9 billion bailout.

“We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves; that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US would give Sri Lanka an additional USD 30 million to provide 96,000 schoolchildren with food.

She said Sri Lankans had taken to the streets, last year, demanding cleaner, accountable and inclusive governance, with transparency, and the government was expected to hold the elections to enable people to enjoy their democratic rights.

Nuland said that the US was glad to see that consultation between the government and other parties towards reconciliation had commenced. She said that she had met with members of the Tamil political parties, earlier yesterday. “We hope that the dialogue will continue to achieve real results such as return of the lands to their rightful owners.”

Nuland said that the US hoped that local elections would be held in March, the dialogue commenced for reconciliation would continue, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act would be reformed to meet international standards.

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