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* Sri Lanka opposition senior summoned by leader after controversial tour in Middle East
Sun, Jan 12, 2014, 12:01 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 11, Colombo: Leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe today summoned the party's senior parliamentarian from Gampaha district John Amaratunga over his controversial tri-nation tour in Middle East tour with the President.

The Chief Opposition Whip of Sri Lankan parliament and party senior toured Jordan, Palestine and Israel with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week.

Wickremasinghe has reportedly asked the veteran politician to clarify a report that he participated in the government delegation's bilateral talks with Jordan when he was given permission only to visit the religious sites.

The UNP said earlier 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 tour with the President raised speculations that the MP was seeking to join the government. Local media reports said the MP has asked the President for the post of Deputy Minister of Defense or Speaker of the parliament to join the government.

However, Amaratunga, following his return to the country Friday told a local radio station there was absolutely no truth to the media reports.

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.

He told local media today that he explained his visit to the party leader and there are no misunderstandings.

** Related Story :: No truth to reports on joining government, Chief opposition Whip of Sri Lanka says

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