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The Government today insisted that State funds were not misused during Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s overseas visit.

Cabinet co-spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma said that the visit to Italy and the upcoming visit to the UN by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, were important.

Alahapperuma’s comments came in the wake of a photograph being circulated on social media showing the Prime Minister and his delegation having a meal, allegedly, at a restaurant in Italy.

Responding to a question by Daily Mirror at the post Cabinet press conference today, Alahaperuma said that the two overseas visits are the first after a long break.

Alahaperuma said that the Government had used the available technology to attend most overseas events without travelling overseas.

“Only essential overseas visits were undertaken in the recent past,” he added.

However, he said that the visit to Italy and the upcoming visit to the UN are important, especially at a time when the country is facing criticism at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Attending the UN General Assembly at this time, with a small delegation, will not be disadvantageous to the country,” he said.

He said the Prime Minister attended the event in Italy on a request made by a foreign organization.

The  Cabinet co-spokesman said that it is the responsibility of the Government to attend such events without placing an additional burden on the economy.

Alahaperuma insisted that there was no case of State funds being misused by the Government and if it was then the media can expose it.

The Government has come under severe criticism with regards to the overseas visits, especially after Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Jagath Kumara had said that those who are used to three meals a day may need to cut down to two meals a day.