Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sri Lanka's top general resigns

Sri Lanka's armed forces chief Gen Sarath Fonseka has resigned from his post just months after helping secure the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Gen Fonseka is reportedly considering challenging President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an election to be held before April. He is due to make a speech shortly.

The resignation was swiftly accepted by the president, a political source told the BBC on condition of anonymity.

Speculation of a rift between the two men has been rife in recent months.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says the general has been in talks with Sri Lanka's opposition coalition about the possibility of his running for president against Mr Rajapaksa.

Opposition politicians say that resigning from his post as army chief would clear the way for him to stand as a presidential candidate.

But in an interview with BBC Tamil, Gen Fonseka would not be drawn on reports he might enter the presidential race.

"I am retiring. That's all I can say at the moment," he said.

Sinhalese nationalist

Two months after leading the army to victory in the civil war, Gen Fonseka was promoted from army chief to armed forces chief, a new position viewed as largely ceremonial.

He was widely reported to be unhappy at this.

He told BBC Tamil that "wiping out the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]" was the crowning achievement of his 40-year military career.

Correspondents say the general has a reputation as a strong Sinhalese nationalist.

In a Canadian newspaper interview last year he was quoted as saying that "this country belongs to the [majority] Sinhalese" although minorities must also be treated "like our people".

Both the government and Gen Fonseka have denied rumours of differences between him and the civilian leadership.

© BBC News

Related Links:
Government confirms Fonseka handed over letter - Daily Mirror

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

© 2009 - 2014 Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  © Blogger template 'Fly Away' by 2008

Back to TOP