US, Norway deny funding ouster of Sri Lanka president

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

January 16, 2010 (AFP) – The United States and Norway on Saturday denied funding Sri Lanka’s main opposition to defeat President Mahinda Rajapakse’s re-election bid later this month. Norway, which was the peace broker until the Rajapakse administration withdrew from a faltering truce and escalated a military campaign against the Tigers early last year, denied it was funding the The US embassy in Colombo said it “strongly” rejected the charges made by a ruling party legislator that he was given 30 million rupees (265,000 dollars) that had come from the US and Norwegian embassies to defect to the opposition.

Legislator Mohamed Musammil told reporters in Colombo Friday that he was given a suitcase full of the cash to defect and support the main opposition presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka.

“This is the money which had come from the US embassy, the Norwegian embassy,” Musammil said.

The US and Norwegian embassies in separate statements denied the allegation and said they were ready to work with whomever won the January 26 election. The two countries had backed Colombo’s failed peace bid with Tamil separatists.

“The United States is neutral and we strongly condemn