|Tuesday, 3 June 2003|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by Ranil Wijayapala
The Defence Ministry is set to convey to the Sri Lanka Navy that they should fly the SLMM flag when the sea monitors are on board Naval vessels in accordance with the agreement reached by the Government with the Norwegian facilitators in the peace process.
Defence Secretary Austin Fernando told the Daily News yesterday that such instructions were due to be sent to the Navy as Prime Minister's Secretary Bradman Weerakoon has conveyed that it was mandatory for the Sri Lanka Navy to fly the SLMM flag when monitors are on board Navy boats and vessels.
According to the SLMM Deputy Chief Hagrup Haukland the sea monitoring was suspended for nearly one month as Navy defied their request to fly the SLMM flag when sea monitors were on board.
The SLMM made this request from the Navy considering the security of the SLMM monitors on board, he added.
"This was the practice from the beginning and the Navy has changed the practice for the last one and half months", he said.
The Sri Lanka Navy lodged their initial opposition to the SLMM request to Defence Secretary Austin Fernando on the basis that the enemy can identify the other vessels where monitors are not on board, for attack.
According to the Status of Mission Agreement signed by the Sri Lankan Government, the LTTE and the Norwegian Government as facilitators of the peace process on March 18, 2002 the flying of the SLMM flag is mandatory for the SL Navy.
SLMM Spokeswoman Agnes Bragadottir said it was most welcome if the Government take steps to give instructions to the Navy to fly the SLMM flag on Naval vessels considering the security of the sea monitors.
Produced by Lake House