Feb 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has said that there is absolutely no justification to introduce any issues related to Sri Lanka into the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) after the country had made a substantial progress in the challenges faced following the end of the war.
Prof. Peiris has made this statement in Dhaka on Thursday when he met with his Bangladeshi counterpart Dr. Dipu Moni during his two-day official visit to the country.
The move to include Sri Lanka as an agenda item at the CMAG meeting scheduled to be held in London in April is contrary to the clearly formulated rules governing the scope of CMAG's role, the Minister has pointed out.
Professor Peiris has briefed the Foreign Minister who is the current Chair of CMAG, about the recent visit of the Commonwealth Secretary-General to Colombo and the substance of the discussions that took place during the visit. The two Ministers also have discussed the upcoming CHOGM and related issues.
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 Minister pointed out that according to the rules relating to CMAG, adopted by CHOGM 2011 in Perth, that exhaustion of the good offices role of the Secretary-General is an indication to include a country in the CMAG agenda and it was quite evident that Secretary-General exercised the good offices role during the wide range of consultations he had with representatives of the Sri Lankan government, the diplomatic community and several statutory agencies.
Prof. Peiris told Dr. Moni that he had set out this position with clarity to Secretary-General Sharma in correspondence as well as at discussions in London and Colombo during the last few days. This had also been communicated, he said, through their High Commissioners in London to the Foreign Ministers of all nine countries which are members of CMAG.
The Secretary-General of Commonwealth can convene the group when required to deal with perceived violations of the Commonwealth principles and values.