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JVP asks Govt. to state its stand on Pompeo’s Sri Lanka visit

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by Saman Indrajith

The US even before sending its State Secretary Mike Pompeo to Sri Lanka has issued a veiled threat that Sri Lanka had to decide with what foreign powers it should align itself, says the JVP, demanding the Rajapaksa government to explain its stance on US bullying.

JVP National Organiser Bimal Ratnayake addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, yesterday, said the US State Department had commenced cranking up pressure on Sri Lanka days ahead of Pompeo’s visit. “Principal deputy assistant secretary at State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Dean Thompson, told media there that Sri Lanka should make the ‘difficult but necessary choices’ in selecting its friends.

“This was said last week while announcing Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka this week as part of a wider trip that includes India, the Maldives and Indonesia. Pompeo comes here just five days ahead of the US presidential election. There is a critical situation in the US and Sri Lanka and the world around. In that context, his visit should be of high importance. The US sent its Air Force’s Globemaster III aircraft which could transport 134 army personnel and vehicles to Katunayake Airport a few days back. Who landed here from that flight? It is clear that Pompeo comes here to threaten this country and make it accept US agenda in Asia Pacific. Before sending Pompeo here the State Department has done everything to prevent any possible rejection by the Sri Lankan government, which should explain to the people how it would stand up to this kind of bullying.

“Pompeo’s visit comes days after the government got the 20th Amendment to the Constitution passed in Parliament. The US foreign policy is full of threats and blackmailing. The other danger is the threat from the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement with the US. Although people here have voted against the MCC, the MCC office in Colombo is still functioning. The threat is still there and the US is bent on forcing the government to sign the compact.”



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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