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Sri Lanka formally accepts Fonseka's resignation

November 15, 2009 20:08 IST

The Sri Lankan government on Sunday formally accepted the resignation of General Sarath Fonseka as the chief of defence staff and asked him to retire with immediate effect, rejecting his plea to serve till December 1.

The top general, who as army chief was the architect of the annihilation of the rebel Tamil Tigers in a military offensive in May, had sought permission to retire from

December 1. However the government relieved him immediately.

In a communication to General Fonseka, Lalith Weerathunge, secretary to the president, said: "You will cease to hold office as chief of defence staff, also with immediate effect."

"This decision has been arrived at having giving anxious consideration to the fact that you yourself believe that the president and the government have lost the trust and faith bestowed upon you, as the senior most serving military officer in the country."

Soon after the civil war ended in May, Fonseka, who was the army chief, was promoted as chief of defence staff, which is a largely ceremonial post.

In his resignation letter to Rajapaksa, Fonseka had said he was promoted to the new post "with basically no authority" due to misleading reports of a likely coup in the country.

Sri Lanka is set for parliamentary and presidential polls before April 2010.

Media reports here had been suggesting that Fonseka is tipped to be the opposition candidate for the presidential elections.

Fonseka had not commented on the reports.

Communique said: "He will be provided with adequate security commensurate with the level of threat."

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's acceptance of Sarath Fonseka's resignation with immediate effect was being seen by his aides as an attempt to deny him an official farewell ceremony.

Fonseka in his resignation letter claimed that coup fears led the government to sideline him.
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