Colombo, May 3 (newsin.asia): The UK Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace, was in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit which lasted till May 2.
The Security Minister met President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, other government Ministers, military and religious leaders, senior government officials, as well as leading figures from the Sri Lankan tourism sector.
He discussed the impact on Sri Lanka of the Easter Sunday bombings ; how to address the security threat; identify what further support the UK can provide; and received an update on the ongoing investigations.
The Minister visited the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri-La Hotels, sites where British nationals were killed in the attacks and met hotel staff .He visited the St Anthony’s Church in Colombo. The Minister laid a wreath at all three sites as a mark of respect for all those who had lost their lives. 253 people including eight British citizens were killed in suicide attacks on April 21 in Colombo and three other towns in Sri Lanka.
The Minister also met the UK police officers who have travelled to Sri Lanka and the consular staff at the British High Commission in Colombo who supported and continue to support British Nationals in the country.
The Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism command dispatched a team of specialists to Sri Lanka, including family liaison officers, to support the families of British victims and assist with the repatriation of deceased British nationals.
Minister, Ben Wallace, said: “The attack on innocent worshippers and tourists sought to sow division and hate and it must not be allowed to succeed. In times like this friends support each other.”
“I visited, on behalf of the UK government, to offer that support and stand in solidarity with the Sri Lankan people. I was deeply moved to visit the hotels and St Anthony’s Church, and to hear from those affected by the attacks. They must only serve to strengthen our resolve to work in partnership with countries around the world to counter the global terrorist threat.
“As part of my visit, I have discussed our current travel advice and been clear that we hope to see the Sri Lankan tourism industry return to full strength. We will do all we can to help the Sri Lankan authorities with this.”