Sri Lanka eases travel restrictions for north
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 22:46
Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday eased travel restrictions for diplomats and non-government agencies' workers travelling to the northern areas, doing away with the requirements for pre-travel approvals.

Accordingly, diplomats and non-government agency workers -- both local and foreign -- will no longer be required to obtain pre-travel approvals, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Last week, the defence ministry had lifted pre-travel requirements for all foreign passport holders.

Till now, the diplomats could only visit the north, the theatre of the government's war with the LTTE until two years ago, with strict approval from the Ministry of Defence.

All visits were subject to being accompanied by military escorts.

However, the ministry added that diplomats and NGO workers who want to meet the military or visit military facilities would still require approval.

During the height of the government's successful military campaign against the LTTE, all international agencies other than the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were asked to leave the north.

Although media personnel are yet to be provided free access to the former battle zone, a BBC team was allowed to visit the north early this week.


First Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 22:46

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