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Foreign ministry denies Sri Lankan threats

The Swiss foreign ministry has denied that its ambassador to Colombo had been threatened by the Sri Lankan government with expulsion.

Sri Lankan Defence Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa had previously told the Sunday Island newspaper that his government had had enough of international criticism.

He said the Swiss ambassador, Ruth Flint, her German counterpart and international media outlets were acting irresponsibly and spreading panic about the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"They will be chased away [if they try] to give a second wind to the LTTE terrorists at a time the security forces, at heavy cost, are dealing them the final death blow," Rajapaksa warned.

On Sunday evening Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Philippe Jutzi said it was a false report and that Flint had been told on Saturday by President Mahinda Rajapakse himself that it was all a misunderstanding.

Sri Lanka was condemned last week after the ongoing civil war in the country's north claimed more lives. The government has banned independent reporting in the region.

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