U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday that they are watching the situation in Sri Lanka, which plunged into turmoil when its prime minister was replaced with a former president, with a “great deal of concern”.
The Foreign Secretary made these comments in response to a question from Conservative MP Sir Hugo Swire at the House of Commons today (30).
Swire inquired as to whether Hunt would point out to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena that his recent actions are a direct contravention of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and also that the international community continues to recognize Ranil Wickremesinghe as the legitimate Prime Minister of the island nation.
“When my friend speaks to the President of Sri Lanka later on in the week, will he point out that his recent actions are a direct contravention of the 19th Amendment and that the international community continues to recognize Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the legitimate Prime Minister?”
“This can only be changed by vote in Parliament and the Parliament must be recalled as a matter of urgency in order that such a vote can take place,” he said.
In response to this, the British Foreign Secretary said that he will be making these points when he speaks to the Sri Lankan President and that they are watching the situation with a great deal of concern.
“I certainly will be making those points when I talk to President Sirisena and I know that a number of members are concerned about the safety of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. And we are watching the situation with a great deal of concern,” he said.
President Sirisena on Friday fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and swore in Mahinda Rajapaksa, who ruled the country from 2005 to 2015 before being defeated by Sirisena.
The President then forced parliament into a three-week recess, preventing lawmakers from holding a no-confidence vote on Rajapaksa.
The U.S. State Department has since urged Sirisena to immediately reconvene parliament.