Sri Lanka's president replaces foreign minister

Sri Lanka's president has removed the country's liberal foreign minister who spearheaded a successful campaign to extricate the country from possible global sanctions over war crime allegations from the country's long civil war.

Karunanayake was made the new foreign minister replacing Samaraweera who got finance portfolio in addition to the new portfolio of media.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday interchanged the finance and foreign ministers in a cabinet reallocation. However, he was accused by nationalists of paving the way for outside interference.

The civil war's final months were especially savage, and both the government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists are accused of grave human rights violations and war crimes.

Since early this year, political circles in Colombo have been speculating on a likely Cabinet shake-up amid apparent differences within Sri Lanka's first national unity government, which was formed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP).

Mr. William Todd also met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this afternoon, and will be meeting Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake this evening. His handling of economy, particularly the raising of Value Added Tax, has been severely criticised.

Other main changes were Mahinda Samarasinghe as Minister of Ports and Shipping, Arjuna Ranatunga as Minister of Petroleum Resources while W.J.M. Seneviratne remains as Labour Minister.

  • Leroy Wright