How did Opposition MPs attend the Security Council meeting?

Officials are still at a loss to explain how four Opposition Members of Parliament attended a meeting of the National Security Council on Monday.

The picture released by the Presidential Secretariat of the meeting showed four SLFP MPs also attending the meeting, which is usually closed off to most people. The MPs are Dayasiri Jayasekara, Faiszer Mustapha, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Thilanga Sumathipala.

Attendance at the NSC is usually by invitation although certain officials are automatically invited due to their statutory positions.

The President as the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is usually the Chair of the Council.

The Commanders of the forces, Chief of Police, Secretaries to Ministries such as Defense, Foreign Affairs as well as the President’s Chief of Staff and the Prime Minister usually attend.

On Monday Minister Rajitha Senaratne revealed that the Prime Minister had not been invited to attend Security Council Meetings since the October crisis.

“Ranil Wickremesinghe has attended Security Council meetings since the 1980s. He is the most experienced politician on security matters in the country, but the Security Council doors have been closed to him,” he went on.

Senaratne revealed that on Sunday when the Security Council met after the attacks the Prime Minister had gone to the Ministry of Defense. “But he was not allowed into the meeting but had to wait in State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s office for 20 minutes,” he added.

Finally he had been allowed in and had chaired the meeting Senaratne said.

Asked why this had happened Senaratne said “they had orders from above.” He was asked to clarify that remark but refused to answer.

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Eventually when President Maithripala Sirisena convened the Security Council yesterday Wickremesinghe and Ministers Arjuna Ranatunge and Thalatha Athukorala were also invited.

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