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Sri Lanka’s govt urged to discuss lifting army chief’s US travel ban

Security staff stand on guard outside the St. Anthony's Church where a blast took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21, 2019. (Xinhua / A.Hapuarachchi). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

COLOMBO, Oct 23, 2020, News1st. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has urged the government to discuss lifting the US travel ban on Sri Lanka’s army commander during the US State Secretary’s visit to the country, News1st reported.

“…discuss this matter and obtain a statement from him (the US State Secretary) about lifting the travel ban,” Premadasa said in Parliament on Friday.

The US had imposed a travel ban on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, following his appointment as army commander under the current government, over alleged human rights violations.

“…this ban was imposed upon the betrayal of our war heroes by the previous government in Geneva,” foreign minister Dinesh Gunawardana said in response to the opposition leader’s suggestion.

Gunawardana added that the opposition leader should have raised his concerns when the foreign minister of the previous government, in which Premadasa was a minister, had betrayed the country’s soldiers.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to arrive in the country late this month.

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