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Sri Lanka's foreign minister criticises previous administration for abusing diplomatic immunity

Sri Lanka’s foreign minister accused the previous administration of using its embassies abroad as “safe houses” for murderers accused of perpetrating human rights abuses during Sri Lanka’s armed ethnic conflict, reports Agence France Presse.

Speaking in parliament on Friday Mangala Samaraweera said,

“Many of our embassies had become safe houses for criminal s involved in killings as well as grave human rights violations at home. They were rewarded by giving places in our embassies abroad.”

Whilst criticising the previous administration, Mr Samaraweera drew on examples of the diplomatic postings of the former army commander Jagath Jayasuriya which happened during the current administration.

Mr Samaraweera’s latest commentary comes as current president Maithripala Sirisena, last week, called for the appointment of Sarath Fonseka as head of Sri Lanka’s Army Navy and Airforce.

Sarath Fonseka headed the Sri Lankan army from 2005 to 2009 and was one of the driving forces behind Sri Lanka’s final assault against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which saw large scale mass atrocities and war crimes committed by Sri Lanka’s tri forces.

Speaking in front of thousands of UNP supporters at this year's May Day rally, Mr Fonseka said he storngly opposed a 48 hour ceasfire that was negotiated between the internaitonal community, LTTE and Sri Lankan governemnt to allow humanitarian aid into densly populated areas of Tamil civilians at the end of the armed conflict. At the time of the 48 hour ceasefire the government said it was allowing Tamil civilians to celebreate new year. The resumption of Sri Lanka's assault against the LTTE saw thousands of Tamil civilians massacred in Sri Lanka's designated No Fire Zones.