Sri Lanka calls for expulsion of Icelandic diplomat

Oct 4, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Tuesday called for the expulsion of an Icelandic diplomat who made a clandestine visit to the Tamil Tiger-held north of the island. Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said it asked Reykjavik to recall Bjarni Vestmann, a minister-counsellor at Iceland’s foreign ministry, after he entered the country on a tourist visa and went to the north to meet with rebels.

“The (Sri Lankan foreign) minister strongly protested the action of Mr. Vestmann and requested his immediate recall,” a ministry statement said.

Foreigners and journalists are not allowed to enter territory held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) without government permission.

The diplomat, however, had managed to get a ride with Scandinavian truce monitors, the ministry said.

It said it had also lodged a protest with the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) for transporting the diplomat.

There was no immediate comment from the SLMM or Vestmann.

The Tamil Tigers had on Tuesday posted a picture of Vestmann calling on the LTTE’s political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan at the guerrillas’ political headquarters in Kilinochchi. The SL