Moscow slams UK ‘Russophobia’ and ‘island mentality’ over spy attack

Poland’s Ambassador to Russia Wlodzimierz Marciniak arrives at the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters to attend a meeting with the ministry’s experts on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city this month, Mar 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Moscow slams UK ‘Russophobia’ and ‘island mentality’ over spy attack

SALISBURY: Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have begun work at the scene of the nerve agent attack on former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury, a Reuters photographer said.
The inspectors were seen arriving at the Mill pub in Salisbury where Skripal and his daughter Yulia had a drink on March 4.
The pair were later found unconscious on a bench outside The Maltings shopping center. They remain critically ill in hospital.

But a senior Foreign Ministry official indicated that Russia won’t recognize results of the OPCW investigation.
Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation, was asked during a briefing whether Moscow would accept the results of the OPCW probe.
Yermakov said that “unscrupulous efforts” to investigate the attack without sharing the case files with Moscow “is not going to work for us.”
Yermakov went on to slam Britain for refusing to cooperate in a probe into the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy on English soil, criticizing its “Russophobia” and “island mentality.”
“Pull yourselves away a little bit from your Russophobia, your island mentality,” Vladimir Yermakov, told a briefing of representatives of foreign diplomatic missions.

Britain said Wednesday that its ambassador in Moscow has snubbed the meeting.
The Kremlin slammed the absence of British ambassador Laurie Bristow, saying it showed London’s unwillingness to cooperate.
On Tuesday, Moscow had invited all ambassadors to Russia to a meeting with foreign ministry experts to hear its views on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city earlier this month. Several western diplomatic missions said their chiefs did not attend the meeting in solidarity with the UK.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has called for “transparency from Russia” over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain.
Merkel emphasized Germany’s solidarity with Britain in a speech to lawmakers in Berlin on Wednesday. She said that “a lot of evidence points to Russia and so transparency from Russia is required to quell the suspicion.”
Merkel added: “I would be happy if I didn’t have to name Russia here, but we can’t disregard evidence because we don’t want to name Russia.”


Dissolution of Sri Lankan Parliament ‘invalid,’ Supreme Court rules

Updated 14 December 2018
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Dissolution of Sri Lankan Parliament ‘invalid,’ Supreme Court rules

  • Ranil Wickremesinghe, said in a tweet: “We trust that the president will promptly respect the judgment of the courts”

COLOMBO: The Supreme Court in Colombo on Thursday ruled that the dissolution of Sri Lanka’s Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena was invalid and described it as unconstitutional.
The verdict also declared that the notice of dissolution announced in the government gazette was null and void and that the Parliament could not be dissolved until four and half years from the last general elections.
On Nov. 9, Sirisena dissolved the Parliament citing his own reasons for his actions. The president appointed the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, replacing the incumbent premier Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The functions of the state were paralyzed when the Court of Appeal ruled this week that Rajapaksa and his team of ministers could not execute their official work until it issued a final verdict.
Thursday’s unanimous verdict was delivered in a packed courtroom by the seven-judge panel. Security was beefed up around the Supreme Court ahead of the verdict.
The petitioners argued the legality of the provisions of Articles 33, 62, and 70 of the constitution, which were subject to conflicting interpretations on the question of whether or not the president has a unilateral power to dissolve Parliament. Each of these provisions were amended by the 19th Amendment in 2015, and the changes went to the heart of the current disagreements over the power of dissolution.
Reacting to the verdict, Namal Rajapaksa, the son of Mahinda Rajapaksa and a parliamentarian, said: “We respect the decision of the Supreme Court, despite the fact that we have reservations regarding its interpretation. We will continue to stand alongside those calling for a parliamentary election, without which there is no real justice for the people.”
President of the National Unity Alliance Azath Salley told Arab News that while respecting the judgment of the court, he still believes that a general election will allow the people to decide the government they need.
Rishad Bathiudeen, leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress, told Arab News that the verdict is a victory for democracy and a greater victory for minority communities on the island. “We are happy that the court has upheld democratic values and shown the world that Parliament is supreme and democracy is really people’s rule,” he said.
Udaya Gammanpila, a minister in the defunct Cabinet, said: “We respect the decision of the Supreme Court although we are not in agreement with its interpretations.”
Rauff Hakeem, a former minister, said that the supremacy of the constitution and rule of law have eventually triumphed. Hakeem, who is the leader of the Muslim Congress, has a good number of legislators from his party in the Parliament.
Mujibur Rahman, a legislator from the Colombo Central Electorate, said that the court verdict had proved that the country could not be run on the whims of an individual such as Sirisena.
“Sri Lanka is a democratic country which is governed by a constitution and people’s Parliament,” he said. He also insisted that Sirisena should gracefully accept his mistake and resign from his post since he had broken the trust of the 6.2 million voters of Sri Lanka.
Rahman also said that decisions taken in the parliament during the litigation are valid from the retrospective date of when the dissolution was announced. “It’s a great victory for people and it also proved that still judiciary is independent in Sri Lankan,” he said.
Ousted premier and UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said in a tweet: “We trust that the president will promptly respect the judgment of the courts.”