Oct 09, Colombo: Canadian Prime Minister's decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka does not impact the summit to be held in Colombo next month as heads of all significant members of the organization are participating in the summit, Sri Lanka said today.
Addressing a media briefing today, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said Canada stands alone in its decision against participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka.
It is not Sri Lanka that will get isolated but Canada, the Minister said, adding that only Canada has taken such a decision and the commonwealth nations had overwhelmingly pledged their support to Sri Lanka in attending the CHOGM.
"Canada is totally isolated in this situation because we have the overwhelming support of all other countries," ha said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday officially announced that Canada will be boycotting the summit over Sri Lanka's human rights record.
Minister Peiris said Sri Lanka is dismayed by Canada's attitude since it is wrong to use domestic issues as a reason to boycott the summit and the Canadian PM is isolated in his decision as a host of nations in the organization do not share his views.
"We are dismayed by the Canadian attitude because it is wrong to use issues connected with the domestic politics of a country to determine the approach of that country to CHOGM," Minister Peiris said.
Sri Lanka says the Canadian PM is buckling to the pressure from the pro-LTTE lobby in Canada.
The Minister said the best response to Canadian Prime Minister's decision is the statement made by the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that rubbishing old friends will not help make new ones.
Australia's new Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday he 'certainly' intend to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka and make a positive contribution.
"You do not make new friends by rubbishing your old friends or abandoning your old friends," Abbott said in response to the Canadian PM's announcement that Canada would boycott the summit.
The Sri Lankan Minister stressed that the Commonwealth is not a forum to pass judgment on each other's problems and it has never been the tradition of Commonwealth.
He pointed out that the Commonwealth is a voluntary association of sovereign states and there is no justification for some countries to sit in judgment to other countries.
"All countries have problems. But those issues have to be resolved by the governments of those countries in keeping with the aspirations of their people," he said.
"To suggest anything else is fundamentally contrary to the culture of the Commonwealth," he said.
The Minister said that huge support is being received for the Commonwealth Summit to be held in Colombo from the commonwealth member countries as well as from the nonmember countries.
Prime Ministers from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Singapore and Pakistan and Presidents of many countries including Nigeria, Tanzania and Seychelles have already confirmed their definite participation in the summit, he noted.
Minister Peiris said that in this situation Canada's non participation will have no impact on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will be held in Colombo from November 15 -17.