Sri Lankan President Junius R. Jayewardene on July 2 denied reports that his country had hired British mercenaries and Israel's Mossad Intelligence Agency to help fight Tamil separatists.
SV Sri Lankan President Junius Jayewardene speaking (ENGLISH SOT)
TRANSCRIPT (SEQUENCE ONE):
JAYEWARDENE: "We have no negotiations or arrangements with Mossad, we have opened an Israel interests section in Sri Lanka. That is done by many countries when they break off diplomatic relations. The U.S.A. has a U.S.A. interests section in Cuba, in the Belgian embassy. The British have a British interests section in Libya, that is in the Italian embassy. Many people (indistinct) the Israel embassies at various times have consulates and other offices of representation for Israel people in their country, as India has, so why not Sri Lanka?"
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Background: Sri Lankan President Junius R. Jayewardene on July 2 denied reports that his country had hired British mercenaries and Israel's Mossad Intelligence Agency to help fight Tamil separatists. Speaking in New Delhi after three days of talks with Indian leaders, Jayewardene said an Israeli interests section had been opened in the United States embassy in Colombo. But, he said, no negotiations or arrangements had been made with the Israeli Intelligence Agency. President Jayewardene said many countries established interests offices in the capitals of countries with which they had broken off diplomatic relations. Citing examples, he said the United States had a similar arrangement in Belgium's embassy in Cuba and that Britain also had one in the Italian embassy in Libya. President Jayewardene was commenting on press reports that British commando veterans and a Mossad agent had arrived in Sri Lanka to train the island's army in guerrilla warfare to battle Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka's ethnic problems were discussed by President Jayewardene and India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on July 1, relations between Colombo and New Delhi have been strained since tension between Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities erupted in communal violence last year. Nearly 400 people, mostly Tamils, died in the riots. Mrs Gandhi has been under pressure from leaders in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu to help solve the grievances of the Sri Lankan minority community. The 50 million Tamils Nadu have close ties with Sri Lanka's Tamils, who are campaigning for a separate state. Newspaper reports in Sri Lanka have accused Indian Tamils of aiding separatist fighters in Sri Lanka.