“I didn’t see the report, only heard about it. But there has been no falling out between Gotabhaya and me in the past, in the present and there will not be one in the future either. Our relationship is based on love, mutual respect, shared patriotic values but also the dangerous shared experience during the war. Why, he had dropped in only yesterday,” he said. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa insisted there is no rift between him and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.Rajapaksa says he heard of reports suggesting that he and his brother, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa have fallen out and that Ram Madhav, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special man for Sri Lanka, is involved in engineering some sort of a political arrangement which will include Gotabhaya and suit Indian interests. In the interview, Rajapaksa said that China, Pakistan and even the US and UK helped Sri Lanka defeat the LTTE.“We believe in improving relations with all countries in our neighbourhood, this I must tell you. Both India and Pakistan have helped us as best as they can, we have traditionally been friends of both. And that friendship has not been mutually exclusive and contradictory, that is, friendship with one has not been at the expense of the other. We are mindful of the sentiments of our citizens of Islamic faith. You will remember that our former PM, Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike was a close friend of the Islamic world. Of course, we have only one neighbour, India. It’s a subcontinent and where our Tamil citizens have cultural, linguistic and civilizational links. For all those reasons our relationship and friendship with India is quite special. Even unique, I would say,” Rajapaksa said. Rajapaksa spoke to WION’s senior international correspondent Padma Rao Sundarji for the “World Is One: Global Leadership” series at his residence in Colombo. Rajapaksa also said that he never left the political fray and as long as his country, his nation and people are in danger and need him, he will remain in the fray. (Colombo Gazette)
Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi met in Kuwait City with Kuwaiti Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, briefing him on the UN’s role in promoting dialogue and reconciliation among Iraqis of different political and religious persuasions.Shaikh Nawaf Al-Sabah expressed his support to and appreciation of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) effort and pledged Kuwait’s continued support, a Mission statement said. Mr. Qazi discussed with Kuwaiti Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Khalid Suleiman Al-Jararalla the results of a ministerial meeting held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday. The envoy’s meetings in Kuwait as well as his visit to Iran last week are the latest in a series of exchanges with Iraq’s neighbours that he has conducted since the spring.