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* No truth to reports on joining government, Chief opposition Whip of Sri Lanka says
Fri, Jan 10, 2014, 11:17 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 10, Colombo: Chief opposition Whip of Sri Lankan parliament, United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian John Amaratunga said today that there is no truth to the reports of him joining the government.

The senior UNP legislator, speaking to the local private radio Hiru FM upon his return to the island after a week-long trip in the Middle East accompanying the President, denied that he will be submitting a secret report to the UNP and opposition leader following his trip.

A report in the local Sinhala daily The Divaina said it has reliably learnt that the Gampaha district MP has asked the President for the post of Deputy Minister of Defense or Speaker of the parliament to join the government.

The UNP MP has expressed amusement over the report regarding the position of speaker when there is no vacancy for the position.

According to Amaratunga, he joined the President's official tri-nation tour to Middle East based on an invitation he had received from Palestine and that he had sought permission from the party.

The UNP earlier said that it had given Amaratunga permission to join the President following a request made by him since the visit would give him an opportunity to visit Christian places of worship, including the Nativity Church in Bethlehem.

The President, accompanied by First Lady and his delegation comprising Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena, Parliamentarians Roshan Ranasinghe Ms. Kamala Ranatunga and John Amaratunga, and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga visited Jordan, Palestine and Israel spending two days in each country.

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