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Last updated: 30 September, 2007 - Published 13:03 GMT
 
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Anura: Boycott Burmese products
 
Military truck in Burmese capital, Rangoon
Reports says there is a there is a very heavy military presence there
A senior Sri Lankan minister has endorsed international calls to boycott Burmes products in support of pro-democracy protests in Myanmar led by Buddhist monks.

National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike told BBC Sandeshaya that he supports the move proposed by international leaders and Hong Kong based AHRC.

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry meanwhile says it is too early to issue a statement on the political unrest in Myanmar, previously known as Burma.

Government has 'no position'

Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bahila told BBC Sandeshaya: "Our position is that an official statement is not needed as yet".

Minister Bahila was responding to Minister Anura Bandaranaike's statments questioning the Sri Lankan government's approach on mass protests against the military junta.

Minister Bandaranaike (L) with President Rajapaksa
Minister Bandaranaike has questioned his own government's attitude towards Burmese protesters

Burma has seen almost two weeks of sustained popular unrest.

Buddhist monks, who were initially in the vanguard of the protests, have been arrested or confined to their monasteries.

Latest reports from Rangoon say there is a very heavy military presence there, and roadblocks throughout the city.

All vehicles, including taxis, are being stopped and searched for any recording equipment.

"Budhhist monks silent"

Bandaranaike, son of two former Sri Lankan heads of state, has also questioned the silence of Sri Lanka's monks politicians, nine of whom were elected to the parliament in April 2004.

 Our position is that an official statement is not needed as yet
 
Deputy Foreign Minister

The Buddhist-monk led Sinhala nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) pledges to safeguard Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

"The silence of our Buddhists is deafening. Especially the self appointed custodians of the 'Dhamma' and of course our Foreign Ministry," Minister Bandaranaike said in a statement issued on Friday.

Da Vinci Code

He has also questioned the judgement of his own government.

"Myanmar is a 90 per cent Buddhist nation. What does a nation that banned 'The Da Vinci Code' have to say? Not a word," the statement added.

Sri Lanka FM Rohitha Bogollagama
Sri Lanka 'waiting for FM to come back' to comment on Burmese protests

But the deputy minister Bahila says Minister Bandaranaike is entitled to "his personal view".

"Minister Bandaranaike's view does not reflect the view of the government. The Foreign Ministry will issue a statement in due course if needed," Minister Bahila told BBC Sandeshaya.

He added that Foreign Minister Rohita Bogoallagama, who is in New York attending the UN General Assembly, is aware of the situation in Burma and will review the situation upon his return to Colombo.

It is the duty of the Sri Lankan government to protect Buddhism, according to the island nation's constitution.

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
Church 'supports' Burmese monks
28 September, 2007 | Sandeshaya
Forum: Monks' role in politics
26 September, 2007 | Highlights
Lanka urged to help Burmese monks
25 September, 2007 | Sandeshaya
"Boycott Burma regime" - AHRC
20 September, 2007 | Sandeshaya
Anura B 'dug his own grave'
11 February, 2007 | Sandeshaya
Anura: Mahinda 'ruining' Sri Lanka
09 February, 2007 | Sandeshaya
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