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US congratulates Sri Lankan navy on drug haul and praises ships that ‘secure sovereignty’

The US embassy in Sri Lanka sent its congratulations to the Sri Lankan navy this week, after the security forces claimed to have seized a record drug haul worth over $33 million, in an operation conducted 600 nautical miles away from Sri Lankan shores.

“Congrats to @srilanka_navy  on your latest success!,” tweeted the US embassy. “We remain committed to combating illegal drugs around the world & are happy to collaborate w partners who are likewise committed”.

Referring to vessels that the United States had donated to the Sri Lankan navy, the embassy went on to state, “donations like #Samudura & #Gajabahu help secure #SriLanka’s sovereignty”.

In November, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz tweeted that “Ever since the #Gajabahu left the US and reached the shores of #LKA, the @srilanka_navy  has used it to save lives and defend its territorial waters”. “I’m happy we could play a role in strengthening #SriLanka’s sovereignty,” she added.

The Sri Lankan navy, which stands accused of massacring thousands of Tamils,  responded to the US embassy on Wednesday by stating it was “greatful to the assistance rendered by @USEmbSL in strengthening cooperation in naval affairs with SLN (sic)”.

The latest operation by the navy was conducted 600 nautical miles (1111km) away from Sri Lankan shores, lasting almost a month.

“The Navy through its advanced technology managed to box in Sri Lankan multi day fishing vessels and dinghies which came to obtain narcotics as well as the drug supplier who were in the guise of Sri Lankan fishermen,” an official military website said.

Former Sri Lankan resident Maithripala Sirisena vowed to implement the death penalty to execute drug offenders before he left the office last year, and has consistently called for the use of the death penalty despite human rights concerns. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court decided to postpone a decision on the use of the death penalty in a case of four drug dealers, until 20 March 2020.

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