Sri Lanka eases travel restrictions for north

Sri Lanka eased travel restrictions for diplomats and non-govt agencies` workers travelling to the northern areas.

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.


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