Lanka rejects reports on President Sirisena's assassination plot

Maithripala Sirisena

Maithripala Sirisena the President of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Wednesday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone and categorically denied media reports that claimed he had accused India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of plotting to assassinate him for opposing the award of a key port project to India. "We clarify that the reports are baseless and false", Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo said.

"Any Cabinet paper relating to the infrastructure development projects planned to be implemented in Sri Lanka by the Indian government or Indian companies were not included in the agenda of that Cabinet meeting", said Abeysinghe's statement.

Speculation is rife in Sri Lanka of a turf war between its President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who incidentally will begin a three-day visit to New Delhi on Thursday.

The alleged plot was disclosed by a man named Namal Kumara claiming himself to be representing Anti-Corruption Force last month at a press conference.

He mentioned that the michevous and malafide reports were utterly baseless and false, and seemed meant to create misunderstanding between the two leaders as well as damage the cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours.

"The President (in the cabinet meeting) highlighted the importance of Sri Lanka having a deep sea port terminal in the interest of the national economy", said the statement.

The plot briefly threatened to cause tension between Sri Lanka and its much larger neighbour India, after a report that Sirisena had accused India's intelligence services of involvement - a claim that New Delhi and Colombo have both denied.

Modi appreciated the prompt steps taken by Sirisena and his government to "firmly refute the malicious reports", the statement said.

According to ANI, the Sri Lankan President apprised PM Modi of the urgent steps taken by him personally and the Government of Sri Lanka to publicly reject these reports.

Sirisena is opposed to granting India access to develop the terminal just next to the China-run Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), the report said.

Mr Wickremesinghe, who will arrive in New Delhi today evening on a scheduled visit, will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

The president's Media Division released a statement that Sirisena only stressed the need to investigate an alleged assassination plot against him.

"The Ministry wishes to emphasize that relations between Sri Lanka and India including at the highest levels of government are strong, encompassing multiple spheres including intelligence sharing".

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