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US jets intrusion sparks political row in Sri Lanka

Authorities are probing an alleged intrusion by US fighter jets into Sri Lankan airspace.



Colombo: Even as the authorities were probing
an alleged intrusion by US fighter jets into Sri Lankan
airspace, the issue has sparked a political row here, with the
opposition JVP today terming it a "breach of sovereignty".

"No country has the right to violate the airspace of
another country. This is a violation of the international law
and breach of Sri Lanka?s sovereignty," the JVP or the
People`s Liberation Front said.

In a statement here, the opposition party asked the
government to bring out the truth of the alleged intrusion by
US fighter planes believed to be part of the US seventh fleet.

Andy Wijesuriya, the Sri Lanka Airforce spokesman, had
said that Lankan radars had spotted what were believed to be
US aircraft over its air space.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is carrying out an
investigation.

"We have had some details of this alleged incident. We
want to establish if it was a true intrusion of the air space
or some aircraft had just flown over our oceanic air space?,
HMC Nimalasiri, the director of civil aviation said.

The US embassy in Colombo has denied such an occurrence
reported yesterday.

The tracking station atop Piduruthalagala, the country`s
highest elevation, had allegedly spotted the US aircraft
believed to be a jet squadron from the US seventh fleet.

The JVP wondered if the intrusion was caused by the 2007
signing of the Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement (ACSA)
between the US and Sri Lanka which provides for among other
things logistics supplies and re-fuelling facilities.

The agreement facilitates the exchange of non-lethal
equipment, increase cooperation in the field and reduce the
paperwork involved which explicitly prohibit the provision of
weapons systems or ammunition.

The opposition, however, felt that it had opened the US
to have a foothold in Sri Lanka to open a military base or use
ports and airports for its military endeavours.

PTI

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