Fonseka may visit Kenya for CPA meeting in September

Sri Lanka`s detained ex-Army chief is likely to be allowed by authorities to attend Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting.

Updated: Jun 10, 2010, 16:51 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s detained ex-Army chief and opposition MP Sarath Fonseka is likely to be allowed by authorities to visit Kenya in Nairobi to attend the four-day Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in September, his party said on Thursday.

The name of Fonseka, who heads the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), has been cleared by a parliamentary committee to represent the Opposition along with the UNP MP Earl Gunasekara.

Besides the two from the Opposition, the ruling United People Freedom Alliance will nominate two of its members for the 56th Plenary session of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) set for September this year.

Fonseka was nominated at the parliamentary business committee meeting held recently, though his name has to be formally approved by the Speaker.

"We are hopeful Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa (the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa) will clear the name of General Fonseka to participate in the CPA conference in Nairobi," DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath said.

This will be the first foreign visit for General Fonseka since he was elected an MP from Colombo District in the April 08 Parliamentary polls.

Fonseka, who is being held at the Naval headquarters here since his arrest in February, is facing two court martials over charges of questionable defence transactions and engaging in politics while in the Army. A magisterial inquiry has also been instituted against him.

As the then Army Commander, Fonseka led the military in defeating the LTTE in May last year. He was subsequently appointed the Chief of Defence Staff, a post from which he resigned following disputes with President Rajapaksa.

Fonskea was nominated as the common opposition candidate for January 26 Presidential elections which he lost to incumbent Rajapaksa by over 18 lakh votes.

While in detention, he was appointed the DNA leader and contested the April 08 general elections under it.