The resignation letter submitted by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the UK Chris Nonis to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on September 24 had not reached the Foreign Ministry in keeping with normal procedure, as of yesterday.
Ministry sources said that they were yet to receive the High Commissioners quit notice. “Maybe, it would reach us after the presidential delegation to the Vatican, which includes Minister G.L.Peiris and Sajin Vas Gunawardena MP, returns to Colombo today after visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican,” ministry sources said.
Dr.Nonis when contacted over the telephone at his London residence confirmed on Friday that he had tendered his resignation to the President on September 24, the day on which he accused Gunawardena who was a Monitoring MP at the Foreign Ministry of allegedly assaulting him during a function hosted by a Sri Lankan Airlines official in New York.
Gunawardena who hurriedly summoned a press conference on Thursday morning cancelled it at the eleventh hour. An official explained that the MP had to rush to the airport to join Rajapaksa’s delegation to the Vatican.
Since then he has claimed that he did not assault Nonis and there was only a heated argument between the two. He also referred to the presence of the Foreign Secretary Kshenuka Seneviratne and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Prasad Kariyawasam at the event.
The President, while still in the Vatican on Friday, ordered a probe into Nonis’s charge against the monitoring MP after having received a complaint from the foreign secretary against Nonis.
When asked about this complaint, Nonis replied that he did not know what it was all about. “I have absolutely no idea. All I can say is that I was unlawfully assaulted by Sajin during a function I attended in New York on September 24. I met President Rajapaksa on the very same day, lodged a strong protest, tendered my resignation and returned to London.”