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US asks India, Pakistan to take step and reduce tension

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Washington, Describing terrorism as a shared challenge and a shared responsibility, the United States has suggested all countries, including India and Pakistan, work in concert and coordination to get at this very real threat.

Indian Prime Minister “has every right to be concerned about the security of his country and his people,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday when asked about Narendra Modi’s comments about terrorism during his recent visit to Dubai.

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“We all recognize and our partners in that region recognize that terrorism is a shared challenge, a shared responsibility,” he said referring to Modi’s call to close all doors to terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim, who is reported to have homes in both Pakistan and Dubai.

It was, Kirby said, “for all of us to work together to share information as best we can and to work in concert and coordination as we are against ISIL, 62-plus nations – to get at this very real threat.”

Asked how many terrorists wanted by both India and the US were hiding in Pakistan, Kirby said he had “no idea, what the number might be to that.”

But “independence celebrations, I think, offer a good opportunity for everybody, whether they’re Indian or Pakistani, to kind of reflect on the challenges, the common challenges and security situation there between those two countries and inside those two countries,” he said.

“We know there continue to be tensions, and our position about that has not changed. These are matters for both India and Pakistan to work out,” Kirby said.

“There’s certainly enough motivation to do that given that tension still exists.”

“As for our assistance, I mean, we have strong relationships with both countries,” he said though he did not have “the details of the security assistance package that was provided to Pakistan.”

“But we have strong bilateral relations with both countries, and we, the United States have, as Secretary (of State John) Kerry has said himself, have strong interest in seeing peaceful resolution to the tensions there,” Kirby said.

(IANS)

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U.S. Warns Columbia Stating Additional Attacks May Occur

As the government faces an outpouring of public anger over the failure to heed the warnings, senior officials admit it has been a "major lapse."

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Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan police officers perform a security check on a truck at a roadside in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 25, 2019. VOA

The U.S. Embassy in Colombo has advised people to avoid places of worship in Sri Lanka over the coming weekend, citing Sri Lankan reports that additional attacks may occur.

“Continue to remain vigilant and avoid large crowds,” the embassy said Thursday on its official Twitter account.

The warning comes days after a devastating attack on Christian worshipers on Easter Sunday when suicide bombers killed more than 350 people.

Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Hemasriri Fernando quit Thursday in the wake of the bombings, heeding calls from Sri Lanka’s president for his resignation.

People who live near the church that was attacked yesterday, leave their houses as the military try to defuse a suspected van before it exploded in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22, 2019. VOA

President Maithripala Sirisena had called on Fernando as well as the police chief Pujith Jayasundara to step down after he promised in a televised address to take stern action against officials who did not share with him the intelligence alerts that came from India days prior to the bombing of churches and luxury hotels.

As the government faces an outpouring of public anger over the failure to heed the warnings, senior officials admit it has been a “major lapse.”

Fernando said that there had been no failure on his own part, but he resigned to take responsibility for the failures of some institutions he headed, Reuters reported.

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Sri Lankan police clear the area while Special Task Force Bomb Squad officers inspect the site of an exploded van near a church that was attacked yesterday in Colombo, April 22, 2019. VOA

Reports say Indian intelligence agencies sent out several warnings to Sri Lanka, and that Indian security agencies had gathered details about Islamic militant group National Thowfeek Jamaath (NTJ), which is suspected of carrying out the attacks.

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The government also faces scrutiny on whether bitter political wrangling between Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe contributed to the failure to act upon warnings about the attacks. Wickremesinghe said that there had been a “breakdown in communication.”

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings. (VOA)