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* Sri Lankan government emphasizes the need for maintaining troop presence in North
Sat, Apr 12, 2014, 11:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 12, Colombo: Following Friday's confrontation between the security forces and LTTE operatives in Vavuniya, the Sri Lankan government emphasized the need to maintain the presence of troops in the North.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special envoy on human rights and Government Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday's incident has underscored the need to keep the military on alert.

Speaking to media after meeting with the chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters in Kandy on Saturday, the Minister said the Friday's incident, where three LTTE operatives were killed by the security forces during a fierce clash, proves that Sri Lankan government has taken the right decision to keep the troops in the former war zone.

Sri Lankan Army teams searching for LTTE operatives including the escaped LTTE suspect Gobi confronted the suspects early Friday in the North. During the clash the army shot and killed the three LTTE suspects.

Minister Samarasinghe said at the United Nations human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva last month many western nations criticized the government for keeping troops in the North five years after the war ended and requested the Sri Lankan government to reduce the military presence in the North.

However, yesterday's incident shows to the international community, that the government took the right decision to maintain troop presence, the Minister said.

He said the Sri Lankan government will not resort to measures to jeopardize country's national security within a short period of 4 - 5 years.

Reiterating the call made by External Affairs Minister Prof. G L Peiris, Minister Samarasinghe said that Sri Lanka would not cooperate with the UNHRC in implementing the resolution adopted last month since Sri Lanka has no confidence in an international investigation to be conducted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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