Sri Lanka President briefs diplomatic community on progress of operations to curb terrorism and restore normalcy

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Tuesday briefed the diplomatic community about the progress of the operations carried out by the security forces to curb Muslim terrorist activities and the steps taken by the government to restore normalcy in the country swiftly.

Addressing all the Ambassadors and High Commissioners based in Sri Lanka, Resident representatives of United Nations and affiliated organizations and Head of other international agencies at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (May 07), the President expressed appreciation to the international community for the cooperation and assistance provided to Sri Lanka at this time of need.

He said that 95 percent of the terrorists suspects have been already arrested or accounted for and only two or three suspects are to be apprehended. Explaining the success of operations, he pointed out that Sri Lanka’s intelligence experience gained during the 30 year old conflict was useful to carry out anti-terrorism measures.

President Sirisena said that he was confident that with the current successful operation and with the assistance of foreign expertise on intelligence, the threat of terrorism could be curbed soon. Referring to the clashes took place between two groups of people in Negombo, he said the social media was blocked for a day because of some attempts made by interested parties to instigate communal clashes, but the ban was lifted yesterday.

He thanked the foreign leaders and their representatives for sharing Sri Lanka’s sorrow and grief at this catastrophic time. The envoys of foreign countries and the representatives of international agencies were unanimous in their expression of fullest support to President Sirisena to curb terrorism in Sri Lanka, which had come back on Easter Sunday.

President Sirisena expressed confidence that the terrorism can be curbed soon as the law enforcement agencies have taken swift measures to identify and arrest the criminals responsible for acts of terrorism and aiding and abetting such acts.

Commander of Defense Services, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, who made a power-point presentation on the operations, said 73 suspects, including 9 women have been detained.

The President thanked all the countries that have assured Sri Lanka that they would provide assistance, and appealed to other countries also assist and cooperate in this fight against the menace of terrorism.

Replying to an issue raised by UNICEF Representative, President Sirisena explained the security measures taken at schools that included deployment of police and security force personnel outside schools and Vigilant Committees of parents and old boys of schools.

The Swiss Ambassador wanted to know if there would be sufficient security for Vesak celebrations and Victory Day celebrations fall on May 18 and Army Commander, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake replied that the Victory Day will be celebrated at low-key by the security forces and adequate security would be provided for Vesak.

President Sirisena explained to the foreign envoys about the presence of 1600 foreign refugees in the country and the difficulties in looking after them under the present circumstances. The United Nations Representative assured that she would attempt to find an acceptable solution as early as possible.

The President said that he has received the second Interim report of the Malalgoda Committee appointed to look into the terrorists attacks and events related to them, and announced that he would submit it to the Attorney General for necessary action.

The envoys who expressed their views included the representatives of UNICEF, United Nations and European Union and Ambassadors of Switzerland, Thailand and Norway.

Commander of Defense Services, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne briefed the envoys about the methodology of explosions, the identification of culprits and the arrests taken place. He also mentioned about the strong possibility of links with international terrorists. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Marapana, Secretary to the President, Udaya R Seneviratne and Additional Secretary Esala Weerakoon, Commanders of Security Forces were also present on this occasion.

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