Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo: Amid the political turmoil in Sri Lanka, a top UN envoy in Colombo met President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday and discussed the prevailing political crisis, days after he sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer met Sirisena days after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “great concern” over the deepening political crisis and called on the country’s government to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions and process. The President’s office said during the meeting, Sirisena assured Singer the government has taken all the steps in accordance with the Constitution, the Colombo Gazette reported. Sirisena said that the country is executing its functions within a democratic framework and appreciated the assistance given by the United Nations.

Expressing her views, Singer said the UN is ready to provide every possible assistance to Sri Lanka in the future as well. On Tuesday, she met Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and conveyed Guterres’ message for the need to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions in the country, amid ongoing political crisis. Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in a statement, urged the Sri Lankan authorities to respect journalists’ safety and editorial independence.

In another development, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya on Wednesday refused to give an opinion to parliamentary speaker Karu Jayasuriya on the current political logjam over the sacking of Wickremesinghe, saying it would be “deemed inappropriate”. The speaker, seeking the AG’s opinion, asked five questions including the one on the validity of President Maithripala Sirisena dismissing Wickremesinghe as the premier.

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