Feb 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka has strongly objected to its inclusion as an agenda item at the meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) which is scheduled to be held in London in April.
Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has made a strong case against the CMAG's decision to include Sri Lanka as an agenda item at the upcoming meeting when he met with the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on Tuesday in London.
During the meeting with the Secretary-General, Minister Peiris has pointed out that such a course of action is contrary to the decisions taken by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Perth, Western Australia in October 2011 regarding the mandate of CMAG and the scope of its functions.
Prof Peiris, describing the developments that had taken place in Sri Lanka during the last few months, has emphasized the need to preserve the essential character of the Commonwealth as a voluntary association of 54 diverse sovereign States.
The CMAG, which was given an enhanced mandate at the CHOGM in Perth, Australia in 2011, has the authority to suspend a member country from the association.
The Secretary-General can convene the group when required to deal with perceived violations of the Commonwealth principles and values.
During the discussions, Prof. Peiris has stressed that any attempt to politicize the organization or to permit its structures and mechanisms to be used as instruments by some countries to interfere in the domestic issues of other countries, would inevitably distort the cultural ethos of the Commonwealth and pose significant challenges with regard to its future.
The Minister has also discussed Sri Lanka's preparations to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November this year.
Secretary-General Sharma, who will be visiting Sri Lanka on February 10, has said that he was pleased with the arrangements which are under way for the meeting.
Prof. Peiris has also apprised the Secretary-General of the recent visits to Sri Lanka by Senator Robert Carr, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ms. Julie Bishop, Australia's Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Scott Morrison, Shadow Foreign Minister.
Australia has offered to share its experience in hosting CHOGM 2011 with Sri Lanka, the Minister has told the Secretary-General.
(External Affairs Ministry Photo)