Viking deal ‘to sway others’: Sri Lanka

Paul Maley; 22/12/09

Sri Lanka has attacked the decision to resettle the 78 refugees rescued by the Oceanic Viking, warning it will encourage more boatpeople to risk the dangerous ocean journey to Australia. Australian and UN authorities are frantically preparing to meet the next resettlement deadline of December 29, laid out in the agreement struck with the Tamils to end their month-long standoff aboard the Customs vessel. Colombo’s high commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya, warned that Sri Lanka was closely watching the fate of the Tamils rescued by the Oceanic Viking, all of whom have been found to be genuine refugees. He said Sri Lanka respected Australia’s right to admit whomever it chose.