As a country that was plagued by the scourge of terrorism for decades, Sri Lanka took threats emanating from Jihadist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda extremely seriously, and would take adequate measures to face them, the Government said.
Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella said any terrorist organization was a threat to the whole world, and the threat should be taken very seriously by governments of all countries. The minister was responding to a question raised by a journalist following the declaration made in a video message by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Wednesday (September 3) that the movement has launched a new branch in the Indian sub-continent.
Asked what measures the Sri Lankan government had taken to contain the threat, Rambukwella pointed out such steps were complicated, but necessary.
Elaborating on the point, the minister said when it came to the visa process; the government had to make certain changes. These changes were not made because Sri Lanka was against any particular country, but as they were necessary to counter terrorism.
The first step was to ensure that terrorists don’t find it easy to enter the country and that was why additional precautions were being taken at airports and in the visa process, he further said.
“During this process, there can be changes made that might not be very favorable to some of these countries”.
However, Rambukwella pointed out the government has to proceed carefully in such matters since all countries in the South Asian region, whatever their issues with each other, were all friendly towards Sri Lanka and were its allies.
Foreign media reports, quoting terrorism analysts, note that in formally launching a branch in the Indian sub-continent, Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri maybe trying to recapture some of the limelight back to his group, which has been somewhat eclipsed, first by its offshoots in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and now by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ fighting in Iraq and Syria.
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