It is with profound sorrow that we announce the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. The Minister was shot by a sniper Friday night (12 August) outside his private residence in Colombo. He died an hour later after emergency surgery.

The Sri Lanka Government unreservedly condemns this act. The relevant authorities are conducting investigations and a detailed statement will follow.

Lakshman Kadirgamar was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka from 1994-2001 and from April 2004-until his untimely death. An ardent advocate of a secular Sri Lanka, he was courageous in championing the cause for a united Sri Lanka and played a major role in bringing the LTTE’s terrorist activities to the attention of the world, which resulted in the proscription of the LTTE in many countries, including the USA. He steadfastedly expressed the view that the LTTE must lay down arms and enter the democratic process.

Minister Kadirgamar was the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) - a regional group comprising the seven States of South Asia (1998-2001), and was Vice Chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), a regional group comprising the 19 States on the rim of the Indian Ocean ( 1997-1999).

Minister Kadirgamar 73, was a distinguished old boy of Trinity College, Kandy where he was widely acclaimed for his all round excellence as a scholar and sportsman. He was also a rugby coloursman and an athletics Lion. He culminated his trail blazing school career being appointed as the Senior Prefect in 1949 and winner of the much coveted Ryde Gold Medal for the best all round student in 1950.

Mr. Kadirgamar read for his LLB degree at the University of Colombo and later proceeded to Balliol College, University of Oxford where he read for a degree in Letters. At Oxford, he became President of the Oxford Union and won the august seat of learning's Cricket Blue. Recently, he was honoured by the Oxford Union, when the prestigious university unveiled his portrait.

The crowning glory of his legal career was when he was elected as an Honorary Bencher of Inner Temple, of Great Britain in its 496 year history, being only the second Asian to achieve this status after former Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahaman in 1974. He was also a President’s Counsel.

Prior to taking to politics as a National List Member of Parliament in the People's Alliance Government of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in 1994, he headed the United Nations Intellectual Property Organisation as its Director, where he was responsible for the drafting of legislation of nineteen states.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

12 August 2005

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