Australia denies SL complicity in human smuggling
The Australian government has flatly denied a news
report that a senior Sri Lankan government official was suspected by
Australian authorities to have been complicit in the
"The Australian" reported Friday that intelligence
agencies had identified a high-profile Sri Lankan official close to
President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had authorised asylum-seeker boats
leaving Sri Lanka bound for Australia.
But a spokesman for Foreign Minister Bob Carr said
the claims were untrue, "The Age" reported today.
''There is no evidence to support the allegation
that this official is complicit in people-smuggling,'' he said.
''Australia and Sri Lanka have a strong record of
co-operation in preventing people-smuggling ventures.''
Sri Lankan Consul-General in Sydney, Bandula
Jayasekara, claimed the report ''unbelievable, ridiculous and
During his visit to Sri Lanka in December last
year, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced a four-point
plan and AU$ 45 million aid over the next five years to assist Sri
Lanka to boost the fight against people smuggling on boats from the
island nation to Australia across the seas.
Foreign Minister said Australia is setting a clear
agenda with the four-point plan- for information and intelligence
sharing, on-water disruption by Sri Lankan Navy, sending the message
to the smugglers and reducing demand by helping to rebuild Sri Lanka
- all designed to curb people smuggling.
"There is a message from these talks to people in
Sri Lanka - by getting on that boat you risk your life, you'll lose
your money and you will be sent back home," Senator Carr said.
Relates stories: Australia announces four-point
plan in combating human smuggling
Courtesy : President Media Unit
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