Former Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam today said she is currently seeking the possibility of taking legal action against Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera against the statements he had made concerning her, alleging the former diplomat was one who ‘came forward on behalf of the LTTE’.
Kunanayakam held a special press conference this morning in order to respond to the accusations allegedly made against her by Minister Samaraweera during a TV program on March 17, where he had said that its necessary to ‘find out’ about her as it is she who continuously highlights the controversy surrounding the audit report on the renovations of the official residence of Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Geneva. She claims he also accused her of coming forward on behalf of the LTTE at the UN and in the Human Rights Council in 1989 -1990.
Vehemently rejecting the allegation and the other comments the Minister has allegedly made against Kunanayakam, she noted the following:
"- My reasons for requesting an audit into the functioning of the Permanent Mission in Geneva was not, as alleged by Minister Samarawera, due to a personal dislike for Ambassador Kshenuka Senevirathne. I had no reason to like or dislike her since I had never met her before and had no personal or professional contact with her
- I categorically state that I have never ever spoken on behalf of the LTTE - not in 1989 -1990 and not before and not after. In fact I have worked closely with the Mothers’ Front Movement of which, the Minister was a co-convener.
I have denounced the violation of human rights by the State as well as by the LTTE. It is for this reason that I was branded a ‘traitor to the Tamil cause’ by the LTTE beginning as far back as 1987. I have also been subjected to written and physical threats by representatives and sympathizers of the LTTE.
- Contrary to the allegation made by Minister Samaraweera, I was not a ‘member’ of the World Council of Churches. Members of the World Council of Churches are church institutions around the world to which also belongs the protestant churches in Sri Lanka and to which the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka is affiliated."
Kunanayakam went on to state the Minister has ‘misused the fact that she is Tamil to automatically brand her’ as being an advocate for the LTTE while overlooking her consistent and relentless fight against the LTTE and the criticisms she leveled at the terrorist group throughout her private and professional life.
She went on to state that as a former Ambassador of Sri Lanka, it appalls her to think that Sri Lanka should lose its credibility internationally its Foreign Minister makes false statements and is ‘playing on racist and chauvinist anti-Tamil sentiments’.
“In my mind, such a person is unsuitable to represent us internationally,” she said.
Former State Minister of Higher Education and MP Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe who also commented at the media briefing said that he is extremely disappointed by the statement made by the Foreign Minister that implicated Kunanayakam and said this government too has adopted the same policy followed by the previous regime, of branding any individual who is a Tamil or is criticizing the government policies as a ‘LTTE-er’.
Meanwhile, former diplomat and political scientist Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka who also expressed his views at the press conference this morning said Minister Samaraweera’s statements on Tamara has undermined the credibility of the Sri Lankan state and said that he also suspects whether a need has emerged from within the new government to go out of the way to protect Ambassador Senevirathne, as she provided misleading and damaging advice to former President Rajapaksa on matters of significant concern. (Lakna Paranamanna)