Colombo, Oct 30 (DailyMirror) – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday in a telephone conversation with Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, expressed his anger and concerns at the comments made by Aluthgamage to the media on Thursday where he said Rajapaksa had informed the Chinese Ambassador that the Chinese Organic Fertilizer will not be accepted.
Informed sources told DailyMirror, Rajapaksa had fired a call to Mahindananda last afternoon questioning him as to who informed him that Rajapaksa had made this statement to the Chinese Ambassador in Colombo, when Mahindananda was not present at the meeting.
Sources said the Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong had met the Prime Minister at the Temple Trees on Wednesday where talks focused mainly on a currency swap between China and Sri Lanka and the matter of the fertilizer import was raised by the Chinese side
During the discussions, Prime Minister Rajapaksa had informed the Chinese diplomat that he would look into this issue and get back to the Ambassador.
Rajapaksa had said the government will direct a third Sri Lankan independent party to test the fertlizer and the findings of this Sri Lankan company would be final.
However, he said he would get back to the Chinese diplomat on this issue and said they could sort this out without relations between the two countries being strained.
However, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage took to the media on Thursday and said the Prime Minister had informed the Chinese Ambassador that the ship carrying the Chinese Fertilizer will not be accepted, a statement which angered Rajapaksa when he saw it in the media.
Rajapaksa, during his telephone call with Mahindananda queried as to who authorized him to make this misleading statement, especially when the Minister was not present at the meeting.
The Prime Minister also informed the Minister to verify his statements in the future with the Premier himself as such misleading statements would cause a strain between the two countries. Mahindananda further went on to tell the media on Wednesday that the Prime Minister had informed the Chinese diplomat to return the fertilizer consignment to China and if China can meet Sri Lanka’s specifications with a new batch, Sri Lanka will consider testing those samples.
Mahindananda also told the media that the Chinese Organic Fertilizer, already en-route to Sri Lanka, will not be re-tested under any circumstance but a fresh batch of organic fertilizer samples prepared to meet Sri Lanka’s standards will be directed for tests at a third-party laboratory, that can be accepted by both sides. (Jamila Husain)