US gifts radar-based maritime surveillance systems to Sri Lanka

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Colombo, Nov 9 (UNI) The United States of America has handed over a radar-based maritime surveillance system and several rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to the Sri Lankan Navy aiming to enhance its maritime surveillance capabilities.

US Ambassador for Sri Lanka, Robert O Blake ceremonially handed over the equipment to the Sri Lanka's Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda at a function at the Trincomalee naval base yesterday.

''Both the surveillance system and the inflatable boats are designed to enhance maritime security by increasing the Sri Lankan Navy's ability to detect off-shore smuggling activity,'' a statement from the US Embassy here said.

It said that the equipment was provided under Section US National Defense Authorization Act, which provides authority for the US Department of Defence to assist in equipping and training partner nations to deter global terrorist activity.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Ambassador Blake has expressed hope that ''the radar system and the inflatable boats would help the Sri Lankan Navy to interdict arms shipments to the LTTE, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization the United States in 1997''.

''The Ambassador also urged the Government of Sri Lanka to pursue a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka's conflict and stressed the importance of respecting fully human rights,'' the Embassy statement said.

UNI

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