- Lankan PM to travel to Pak in bid to save statues
COLOMBO (March 9): Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka said on
Thursday he will travel to Pakistan this weekend in an attempt to save Buddhist statues in
Afghanistan from destruction.
Wickremanayaka said Germany was moving a resolution co-sponsored by Sri
Lanka urging the U.N. General Assembly to save the statues.
"We are inviting the international community to react to the
situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security,"
Wickremanayaka told Parliament. "If the Taliban does not want to retain these
statues, Sri Lanka is willing to take them and preserve them for posterity."
Wickremanayaka said he would join Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar
in Pakistan on Saturday to try to save the statues held sacred by Sri Lankans, a majority
of whom are Buddhists. Pakistan is Afghanistan's southern neighbor.
"We are prepared to save them from this abominable acts of
destruction," he said.
The Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, ordered the
destruction of the Buddhas and other pre-Islamic statues in Afghanistan on Feb. 26, saying
they were idolatrous.
The ancient Buddhas were carved out of a mountainside in the 3rd and