Sri Lanka ends ban on foreign visitors amid questions about its motives

The government of Sri Lanka announced on Saturday that it was lifting the blanket ban on entry to foreign travelers, just two weeks after it first introduced it. The announcement by the Interior Ministry came just after a home ministry announcement that the ban was necessary for the security of the country and those traveling to Sri Lanka.

Before the ban was lifted, the only foreigners permitted entry included diplomats and journalists covering the country. The ban was imposed earlier this month after a pair of suicide bombers attacked two hotels in the capital, Colombo, which killed more than 20 people. The government blamed the attack on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the group that fought for a separate state for the island’s Tamil minority for 25 years before the military crushed them in 2009.

The bans raised questions among foreign diplomats and government officials in Sri Lanka as to whether they were imposed for political reasons. The Oct. 9 ban followed clashes between Sri Lankan police and Indian and British embassy staff in Colombo. The restrictions did not apply to Sri Lankan citizens, but rather to organizations working with Sri Lankan nationals. (Non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, are some of the groups that may be allowed back in.)

The home ministry said that “operational and security measures” would continue to be taken on a case-by-case basis.

Read the full story at the BBC.


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