Treaty with Ukraine:
Udayanga Weeratunga arrest imminent
With the Cabinet giving its nod for a Treaty with Ukraine on the
extradition of criminals, Sri Lankan law enforcement authorities have
fast-tracked its operation to arrest former Sri Lankan Ambassador to
Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga, who is currently hiding in Ukraine.
Top government sources said Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera
would fly to Ukraine next week to sign the Treaty. Foreign Ministry
sources said the Treaty would come into effect after the signing of the
Agreement on June 27.
Government sources told the Sunday Observer that Weeratunga, who is
wanted by Police over the controversial MIG deal and several other
allegations, had allegedly been spotted with former President Mahinda
Rajapaksa during the latter's recent tour to Japan.
When contacted by the Sunday Observer, however, none of the members
of the pro-Rajapaksa group confirmed Weeratunga's presence in Japan.
Weeratunga also met Rajapaksa in Thailand when the former President
visited the country in April, this year. After his meeting with the
latter, Weeratunga released a statement to the Media admitting that he
was living in Ukraine.
Despite multiple investigations into the former diplomat, the
government was not in a position to ensure his arrest as there was no
mechanism to extradite criminals between Sri Lanka and Ukraine.
Weeratunga, a nephew of Rajapaksa, was the longest serving Sri Lankan
ambassador to Russia, one of the most strategically important diplomatic
missions of the Foreign Ministry.
The Cabinet paper with regard to the Treaty was submitted at the last
Cabinet meeting by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as
Minister of Defence. Cabinet ministers unanimously approved the paper on
The Cabinet paper said the Treaty would provide the opportunity to
request the authorities in Ukraine to receive criminals who have engaged
in illegal activities in this country and sought protection in Ukraine.