Reshuffling of foreign and finance minister by Sri Lankan President


Sri Lanka's president has removed the country's liberal foreign minister who spearheaded a successful campaign to extricate the country from possible global sanctions over war crime allegations from the country's long civil war.

Mangala Samaraweera, who served as Foreign Minister from January 2015, took over the Finance and Media portfolios, while Ravi Karunanayake - who was Finance Minister - will now handle external affairs, according to an official press release.

While the UNP and the SLFP continue holding the portfolios formerly with them, all eyes were on the switch between the Foreign and Finance Ministers.

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The biggest culprits were Value-Added Tax receipts, flat on past year at £11.1 billion, as well as a falling stamp duty take. In its simplest terms, a government runs a budget deficit when in a single year it collects less in revenues than it spends.

Samaraweera was instrumental in Sri Lanka's co-sponsoring of a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council that called for investigations into the alleged wartime abuses with global assistance.

According to United Nations estimates, up to 40,000 civilians were killed during the three-decade-long war that ended in defeat for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The civil war's final months were especially savage, and both the government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists are accused of grave human rights violations and war crimes.

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Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel, 45, and from the French island of Guadeloupe was named Sports Minister. To that end, Mr Nicolas Hulot, an environmentalist, was picked as ecology minister.

"Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also said that if such attacks occur, then the area police officers will be held responsible".

His handling of economy, particularly the raising of Value Added Tax, had been under severe criticism.

Sirisena also took away the ports and shipping portfolio from legendary cricketer and former captain of the national team Arjuna Ranatunga and gave him the ministry of petroleum resources.

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He expressed hope that peace could indeed move forward between Israel and its neighbors, "including the Palestinians". I have heard it is one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling that we are going to get there eventually".