Arms Sales To Tamils Broached new Ambassador Says

The government should take action to stop the sale of arms along the Cambodian-Thai border to operatives of the Sri Lankan rebels, if reports of such activity prove true, Sri Lanka’s Ambas-sador to Cambodia said Thurs-day. When asked by a reporter, Tilak Amunugama acknowledged broaching the topic with officials at the Foreign Ministry during discussions this week. But he stressed that the arms-sales issue was just one of many touched upon during numerous meetings with top Cambodian officials.

“My mission here is to present my credentials to the king,” Amunugama said. “This is not the time to discuss those issues. But of course, I mentioned it to the foreign minister and we will take it up at the right time in the right way.”

Amunugama—Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to Thailand, Viet-nam, Laos and Cambodia—arrived in Phnom Penh on Wed­nesday for a meeting with top Cam­bodian officials and members of the diplomatic corps. He was scheduled to present his credentials to King Norodom Sih­anouk at a palace ceremony Fri­day.

“We don’t have complete evidence, but there have been reports,” he said. “We have informed the government that if that is in fact happening, they should know and we would expect them to help us curtail it.”

A Sri Lankan officer alleged last month that weapons from Cam-bodia were moving through Thailand en route to the Tamil Tigers, according to The Nation, a Bangkok-based daily. Army spokes­man Sunil Tennekoon also said the rebels were using territories in southern Thailand as transit bases. Rebels have been fighting the Sri Lankan govern­ment for more than 15 years.

Amunugama emphasized, however, that of top importance now is renewing trade and the centuries-old ties—rooted in mutual Buddhist traditions—between Cambodia and Sri Lan­ka. Sri Lanka also hopes to play a role in helping Cambodia rebuild religious institutions and train new medical personnel.



Related Stories

Latest News