Sri Lanka promotes air chief after spat with army general

November 16, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president on Monday promoted his air force commander to be the country’s top military officer to replace General Sarath Fonseka who quit following a rift with the government, an official said. Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke, 53, was made the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) from Monday in addition to his duties as head of the air force, an official from the president’s office said.

“He will function as the CDS in addition to being the air force commander,” the official said.

Goonetileke replaced Fonseka, 58, who resigned last week saying he had lost the trust of President Mahinda Rajapakse, whose administration he strongly criticised. Fonseka is widely expected to enter politics and challenge Rajapaske in upcoming elections.