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Sri Lanka says international criticism over new army chief ‘unwarranted’

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 General Shavendra Silva (centre) was appointed Sri Lanka’s army chief. (Reuters pic)

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Tuesday brushed aside as “unwarranted and unacceptable” international criticism of its decision to name a war veteran accused of human rights violations as its army chief.

Monday’s appointment of Shavendra Silva, 55, a key military leader during the final phase of the island nation’s 26-year-long war with dissident Tamil Tigers, drew flak from the United States, United Nations and civil society groups.

The appointment was a sovereign decision taken by Sri Lanka’s president, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

“Foreign entities trying to influence the decisions and internal administrative processes of public service promotions in Sri Lanka are unwarranted and unacceptable,” it said in a statement.

Concerns raised over the appointment were “based on allegations” and were “regrettable”, it added….

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