US denies funding opposition to oust President Rajapaksa

Updated 07 December 2014
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US denies funding opposition to oust President Rajapaksa

COLOMBO: The US Embassy in Sri Lanka denied on Saturday it was “pumping money” into the country to topple President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the allegations were levelled by a minister.
Resettlement Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon accused US envoy Michele Sison of seeking to fund opposition forces in the election campaign in order to oust Rajapaksa who is seeking an unprecedented third term in next month’s elections.
“She is pumping money to topple President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” the minister told an election campaign rally Friday.
The embassy strongly rejected the minister’s accusations.
“The allegations by Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon are baseless,” the embassy said in a statement.
“They reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of our engagement with senior government officials and our policy toward Sri Lanka as well as the US political and economic system.”
The minister also alleged that Sison had offered him “a five-year scholarship for my children (and) a house in the US and a green card” if he agreed to a demand to remove military camps in the island’s former war zone.
Dismantling the camps has been a longstanding demand of US and other Western nations, as well as of neighboring India, which have criticized Colombo’s human rights record.
“I said closing army camps is not something I can do, but it is up to the president,” Weerakoon said.
Sison left Sri Lanka Saturday after completing her term as ambassador.
Prior to her departure, she met with President Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris who had “congratulated her on strengthening bilateral ties,” the statement added.


Iran adhering to nuclear deal: British PM

Updated 3 min 23 sec ago
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Iran adhering to nuclear deal: British PM

  • “From what we see, we believe that it is doing that,” Theresa May told CBS
  • But there are other issues outside the deal that also need to be dealt with, she said

WASHINGTON: Iran is adhering to its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal and the accord — repudiated by the United States — should stay in place, Britain’s prime minister said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“From what we see, we believe that it is doing that,” Theresa May told CBS.
“We believe that that should stay in place. And others, involved in putting that deal together believe that it should stay in place,” May said in excerpts of an interview shown on “Face the Nation” that was to air in full Monday on “This Morning.”
But there are other issues outside the deal that also need to be dealt with, she said.
“Looking at the issue of ballistic missiles. Looking at — the way in which — Iran is acting in the region — to destabilize the region. We need to address those issues,” May said.
May’s interview came as world leaders geared up for a week of high-stakes diplomacy at the UN General Assembly, which is set to be dominated by North Korea and Iran.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump will for the first time chair a Security Council meeting on non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction that will focus heavily on Iran — likely triggering a clash with other big powers.
Earlier this year, Trump pulled the US out of the deal it reached with Iran and five other countries in 2015. That accord lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
Now, the US is reimposing those sanctions.
Other parties to the deal have argued that it is working and should stay in place, while the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran is complying with the accord.