Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s close relationship with the Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksas was ‘a mystery’ to Sri Lankans, and that Australia’s new Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, would be unlikely to get the warm welcome received under the previous government. –
In an exclusive interview with The Australian, the veteran politician also said that the Australian government’s silence on alleged human rights abuses was the price it paid to secure co-operation from the former Rajapaksa government on stopping asylum-seeker boats. In a weekend interview at the Prime Minister’s official Temple Trees residence in Colombo, Mr Wickremesinghe confirmed the involvement of “people connected to the previous government” in people-smuggling operations.
It was being done by people with Rajapaksa connections, but once this deal was done between Australia and the Rajapaksa government, where you looked the other way (on human rights abuses), then secretary of defence got the navy to patrol,” he told The Australian. “You could not have got anyone out of this country without someone in the security system looking the other way, the police or the navy.”