France refutes visa denial claim

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 August 2001, 20:48 GMT]
The French Foreign Ministry Friday denied claims by the Sri Lankan information department and state media that it had denied entry to the Liberation Tigers‚ chief negotiator Anton Balasingham and other individuals alleged by Sri Lanka to be linked to the LTTE. A spokesman for the French government, quoted the Foreign Minister Hubert Verdrine, said "We have not banned any particular persons or members of any particular organisations from entering France."

Speaking to the Tamil Television Network (TTN), the French spokesman refuted the claims which appeared in Sri Lankan state media about a bar on entry for the LTTE chief negotiator and others. He said that visas are issued according to immigration regulations prevailing at the time, and there was no mechanism to place a blanket denial as claimed by the Sri Lankan government.

The Sri Lankan state-owned Daily News claimed Friday "France has decided to close the door for six hardcore LTTE members, including its theoretician Anton Balasingham." The claim had first been made in the website of the Sri Lankan government's Information Department.

The Daily News also claimed "the recent official visit to France by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga contributed immensely in combating the LTTE propaganda operations in France."


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