Sept 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka has strongly deplored the attempts by United Kingdom and Canada to politicize the Commonwealth against the island nation and questioned the basis for the "relentless pursuit" of the country.
Issuing a statement, Sri Lanka's Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris expressed regret that the annual Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting (CFAMM) held on the margins of the UNGA Sessions in New York on 26th September, was inappropriately used as a platform by the UK and Canada to bring attention on their positions on internal issues related to Sri Lanka.
The action initiated by the Foreign Minister of Canada John Baird and UK MP Hugo Swire at the CFAMM broke all norms and practice of the Organization considering that this forum is meant to discuss issues relating to the wider Commonwealth, the Minister said.
Reacting to comments made on Sri Lanka at the meeting by the two countries, Minister Peiris emphasized that being continuously critical, particularly urging repetitively on the need for concrete developments on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, was grossly unfair.
He explained that the gravity of the challenges presented, especially in the context of the brief period since the end of the thirty year armed conflict in 2009, need to be taken into account since the issues such as language, land and the multifaceted reconciliation process require a lengthy period of time for comprehensive and sustainable resolution.
Minister Peiris pointing out that extensive developments have taken place following measures taken by the Sri Lankan government to address the challenges posed, questioned the basis for the relentless pursuit of Sri Lanka through such unfair references.
"The British delegation calling to question the decision of the Heads of Government to hold CHOGM in Sri Lanka is shocking," the statement said.
"In Canada's singularly misplaced quest to strive for punitive measures against Sri Lanka through the Organization, action was initiated to the extent of externalizing Commonwealth processes which is unprecedented," Sri Lanka said.
Therefore consensual support did not materialize within the nine-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to the two countries' attempts against Sri Lanka, the Minister said.
"Such attempts to politicize the Commonwealth are deplorable," he said.
Sri Lanka was not listed in the agenda of the CMAG meeting in New York.
While presenting the developments following the end of the war, Minister Peiris encouraged all member countries to attend CHOGM and experience for themselves the ground situation.
The Minister, welcoming the positive comments made by several delegations, endorsed the remarks by the Australian Chair that it is not the practice of the Commonwealth to use the forum of the Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting to discuss the internal issues of member countries.
"Sri Lanka looks forward to engaging with member countries bilaterally on relevant issues, as is being done with the Commonwealth Secretariat," he said.
The Minister stressing that Sri Lanka upholds core Commonwealth values, said that equal treatment of all member states is imperative.