US, Norway deny helping Fonseka

New Delhi, Feb 11 (Calcutta Tube) The US and Norway Thursday denied Sri Lankan Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s allegation that they helped former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka during the polls.

‘There is no truth to the defense secretary’s claims that the US provided financial support to the opposition candidate in Sri Lanka’s presidential election,’ the US embassy in Colombo said in a statement.

‘The US backed no candidate but strongly supported a free, fair, and credible democratic process,’ it said.

Rajapaksa’s comments were made in an interview published Thursday in Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.

In Singapore, the Norwegian ambassador made a similar statement in a letter to the daily.

‘The accusations made against Norway in the interview are not correct. Norway has never and will never interfere with other countries’ elections or in any way try to undermine or oust a democratically elected government and president,’ the envoy said.

‘Norway has already brought up the accusations with the government of Sri Lanka,’ he added.

The US embassy statement also urged Colombo ‘to protect the rights of those who supported the opposition or other candidates in the election and to ensure the safety and security of representatives of the press.

‘The free expression of opinion and peaceful participation in the political process are fundamental democratic rights, which all citizens of Sri Lanka should enjoy,’ it said.

Rajapaksa told the Singapore daily that Fonseka, who was arrested Monday on charges of conspiring against the government, got the backing of Western countries during the January presidential campaign.

‘We are 100 percent convinced that Western countries with vested interests were backing him. Even the US, and countries like Norway, spent lots of money on his campaign,’ he said.

‘They (Norway) have vested interests and used to support the Tamil Tigers in various ways. They also supported Fonseka to try oust the government.’

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