Protest planned against 'US concessions'
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Two leading Buddhists monks held a press conference in Colombo today at 9.30am to say that they will launch a protest movement against the US involvement in the exploitation of phosphate resources in Sri Lanka.
Such concessions are being granted to the US government by the Sri Lankan government as a quid pro quo for the banning of the LTTE, the priests claimed at the press conference.
The priests said that they had formed a forum to organise the protests.
A Sri Lankan army colonel, currently on leave, is also a member of this forum.
The proposed site of the mine is an area near Eppawala town, which is situated in the central region of the island.
It is claimed that tens of thousands of Sinhalese villagers would have to be relocated to allow the phosphate mining to proceed.
The American firm, Freeport McMoran Resource Partners is said to have signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan government worth several million dollars.
Freeport McMoran are used to such controversy. Their mining operations in Indonesia have also been criticised for their impact on local residents.