Sagala Denies 'Secret Meeting' With Gota: "I Visited Former Defence Secretary After Surgery And Kabir Hashim Was Also In His Living Room"

Ports, Shipping and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said there was no "secret meeting" between him and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the latter's residence.

"It was an open meeting that happaned in broad daylight. I visited him as he rerurned to the country after his surgery and the Prime Minister was fully aware of the meting," Ratnayaka said when asked whether he met the former Defence Secretary in Colombo recently. The Minister was responding some media reports claiming that he had a secret discussion with the former Defence Secretary.

"I was ushered into his house by security officers and Minister Kabir Hashim was also in the former Defence Secretary's living room," Ratnayaka added.

"It was not my duty to inquire why Minister Hashim was there. He left shortly after my arrival and I had a brief conversation with Mr. Rajapaksa about his health. Nothing political was discussed at the meeting," he added.

When asked as to why he took the 'risk' of meeting a political rival in broad daylight, Ratnayaka said the meeting was only a 'humanitarian gesture'.

"We are not enemies althugh we are political rivals. I have always maintained friendly relations with my political rivals. It is important to engage in politics in a civilized manner."

"However, I don't hold closed-door meetings with my political rivals like many others. Whenever I meet them, I inform the party leadership beforehand and obtain persmission," the Minister explained.

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