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SLCFA requests new Chinese ambassador to adhere to Zhou Enlai’s Eight Principles for Economic Aid and Technical Assistance in Sri Lanka

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The appointment of an experienced Chinese diplomat as the Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka was welcome at a time when distant powers along with their regional allies were trying to militarise the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka – China Friendship Association (SLCFA) has said welcoming Ambassador Qi Zhenhong to the country.

Excperts of the SLCFA message: “Ambassador Qi Zhenhong headed the China Institute of International Studies, a premier International Relations Think Tank in China, and thus has an excellent understanding of the complex realities in the Indian Ocean. Hence we could expect the new Ambassador to be well aware that when former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandarnaike took the lead in making the UN declare the Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace, and when Chairman Mao Zedong was the Core of the Chinese Nation and Premier Zhou Enlai guided the international relations, that China was the main supporter of the proposal and galvanized the members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM),” President of the SLCFA Ananda Goonatilleke said issuing a press release.

 Ambassador Qi Zhenhong takes charge at a time when the actions of USA, India and several other countries are rapidly militarizing the Indian Ocean and is applying pressure on smaller nations to come into agreements that are against the non-aligned principals. The increasing militarization of the Indian Ocean does not bode well for international cooperation and world peace as most of the world’s trade passes through this region and the increased military presence of one group would invite a counterforce of relative size. Realizing the dangers of this development, President Rajapaksa has also expressed his desire of making Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace and SLCFA hopes that Ambassador Qi Zhenhong takes the initiative in helping Sri Lanka achieve this objective.

“People of Sri Lanka have warm feelings towards China not only because it has assisted us in economic, security and diplomatic fields at our hours of need but also because it has inspired Sri Lanka to remain nonaligned and also without being a strategic partner of any foreign power. Though China is geographically a distant country, it has been the blood brother of our people more than any of Sri Lanka’s close neighbors, fundamentally because of her socialist, anti-hegemonic national principles and foreign policy strictly based on Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,” he said.

In economic relations, the SLCFA most earnestly requested Ambassador Qi Zhenhong to consider possibilities of implementing the world renowned “Chinese Government’s Eight Principles for Economic Aid and Technical Assistance” in Sri Lanka, earlier proclaimed by Premier Zhou Enlai on January 15th 1964 in Africa (Ghana). Such an economic principle coupled with anti-hegemonic foreign policy would definitely reestablish warm feelings within our people to withstand any alien conspiracy launched to stigmatize friendship between our two peoples.             

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Foreign force behind Easter Sunday attacks – Sirisena

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A powerful foreign country or an agency was behind the Easter Sunday bombings and the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zaharan Hashim, former President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

“I also do not believe that Zaharan was the leader of that organisation. Because a leader would never have initiated a suicide attack and died during the first wave,” Sirisena said.

The former President also said that Islamic extremism had spread rapidly in the country due to the support extremists received from Muslim politicians.

Sirisena also said that the military and intelligence officials had been demoralised by harassment they suffered during the yahaalanaya administration. This was the reason why local institutions failed to uncover NTJ’s plans. “But this incident is a conspiracy because it appeared that Zaharan was being manipulated by some foreign hand,” the former President said.

The President further said that during the previous administration, UNPers had headed the Ministry of Law and Order for several years that they had significantly weakened the intelligence services. Although he had taken the Ministry of law and Order in the last stages of the yahapalana government, he had not been able to undo the damage the UNP had done in four years, the witness said.

Commissioner: “Did you know that during your tenure as President, Muslim MPs and ministers were forcible acquiring land in Vanni and Batticaloa and they were constructing Muslim villages and mosques there?”

Sirisena: “Some ministers used their political power to clear forests and cultivate lands. Some ministers were angry with me when I tried to stop them. I tried hard to control those actions. But it was difficult for me to deal with that situation. Fundamentalism rose due to the protection given by Muslim political leaders. Certain political parties are based on religion, race and language. This is disastrous. I tried to stop these people but my decisions were not implemented.”

 

 

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Bathiudeen granted bail

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Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was released on bail by the Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage released Bathiudeen on cash bail of Rs. 100,000 with two sureties of one million rupees each.

The Magistrate also imposed a travel ban on Bathiudeen and said that the guarantors should be his close relatives.

The Magistrate granted bail to the MP considering the risk of him contracting COVID-19 as two inmates in cells next to his had recently tested positive for coronavirus.

Bathiudeen was remanded in connection with alleged misappropriation of public funds during the last presidential election to transport voters.

The former minister has been accused of misusing 222 buses owned by the SLTB for transporting internally displaced persons from Puttalam to polling stations in Silavathurai, Mannar during the 2019 Presidential Election. Two others, Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and Alagarathnam Manoranjan face the same charges.

They have allegedly violated Article 82(1) of Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 by misappropriating public funds amounting to Rs. 9.5 million.

Bathiudeen was arrested at an apartment complex at Ebenezer Place in Dehiwala in the early hours of October 19. He was then produced before the court and placed under remand custody. His bail application was also rejected by the magistrate’s court on several occasions

 

 

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Zahran supported Sirisena and SLMC at 2015 elections, Hizbullah tells PCoI

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) and its leader Zahran Hashim supported Former President Maithripala Sirisena and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) at the 2015 elections, former Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M Hizbullah, on Tuesday night, told the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks.

Hizbullah was giving evidence before the PCoI for the second day.

“Zahran supported the SLMC at the 2015 general election. After the UNP-led coalition won the election, NTJ members fought with our supporters. Several people were injured during the clash, including Zahran’s brother. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem visited Zahran’s brother at the hospital.”

The witness also submitted a footage of a demonstration opposite NTJ Headquarters in Kattankudy. It contained a speech by Zahran, who expressed his dismay after Sirisena appointed Hizbullah as a national list MP.

“In this video, Zahran clearly says he supported Maithripala Sirisena at the 2015 presidential election. Zahran also says he sent a fax to the former President, urging him not to appoint me to Parliament.”

However, it was earlier revealed that in 2015, representatives of five recognised political parties, including the UPFA and the UNP, had signed agreements with Zahran in the run-up to the 2015 general election. Representatives of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG), too, had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for NTJ support, the Commission was told.

Hizbullah, on Monday, admitted that his party had also signed an agreement with the NTJ.

“Zahran told social media that he would support any politician who agreed to his proposals. All the parties joined him. I also went along.”

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