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  • Ties with Pakistan will continue: Sri Lankan PM

    Colombo (PTI): Notwithstanding the terror attack on its cricket team in Lahore, Sri Lanka on Wednesday said it will take "all steps" to protect its relationship with Pakistan, even as opposition parties flayed the Government for sending the players to the trouble-torn country.

    Speaking in Parliament, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake described the relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan as "very close".

    "Sri Lanka and Pakistan share a very close relationship and we will take all steps to protect this relationship," Mr. Wickremanayake said.

    The Prime Minister said efforts will be taken to guard the good relations between the two countries by preventing incidents like the one yesterday in which seven Sri Lankan cricketers were injured.

    He was responding to a question posed by Opposition United National Party (UNP) member Lakshman Kiriella whether the cricket team was sent due to the cash crunch being faced by Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC).

    The ruling party was targeted in Parliament for the second day on Wednesday by the Opposition for its decision to send the cricket team to Pakistan.

    The opposition leaders also asked the Government why did it permit the national team to visit the country when Australian and New Zealand cricket teams did not wish to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.

    The opposition leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wicremasinghe said the comments of Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday regarding inadequate security for the Sri Lankan cricket team yesterday needed to be studied.

    Mr. Wickremasinghe said the country was thankful both to India and Pakistan for cooperating in smooth conduct of cricket matches during the 1996 world cup.

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