B. Muralidhar Reddy
Iceland apologises for envoy’s conduct
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has demanded “immediate recall” of a diplomat from Iceland for his “unauthorised meeting” with representatives of the LTTE in Kilinochchi earlier this week.
The demand was made by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, currently on an official visit to Washington DC, with his counterpart Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland on Wednesday morning.
Bjarni Vestmann, Minister Counsellor of the Foreign Ministry of Iceland, is not accredited to the Government here and was named to take over as the Deputy Chief of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. He was on a tourist visit prior to taking up his assignment.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said here Iceland had apologised for the inappropriate conduct of its diplomat .
The statement quoted Iceland Foreign Minister Gisladottir as saying his Government had not authorised Mr. Vestmann to make any contact with the LTTE, which he has done much to their disappointment. It said the Iceland Foreign Minister noted the close relations between Sri Lanka and Iceland and hoped for the continuation of this relationship.
In a separate statement, Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of Sri Lanka Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), said here the issue was discussed at the weekly meeting with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Meeting held at the Peace Secretariat on Thursday.
Prof. Wijesinha said the diplomat had travelled in the company of the SLMM Liaison Officer for the Wanni to Kilinochchi without permission. The statement said the SLMM Head of Mission had no idea that he would be taken to the LTTE Peace Secretariat.
Meanwhile, TamilNet reported that the SLMM officials scheduled to meet the LTTE team in Kilinochchi on Thursday were blocked from crossing the Oamanthai entry point by the Army due to new instructions from Colombo.
General Secretary of Liberation Tigers Peace Secretariat S. Puleedevan told TamilNet, “By refusing entry to the SLMM, Colombo was trying to block the information flow between the SLMM and the LTTE”.