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* Sri Lanka accuses Canada of using Commonwealth funds as a political tool
Wed, Apr 16, 2014, 02:04 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry said Tuesday that Canada's decision to use the voluntary funds to the Commonwealth as a political tool based on dictates of electoral compulsions was regrettable.

Responding to the Canada's announcement that it will suspend the $10 million annual voluntary contribution to the Commonwealth for the next two years over the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the current chair of the 53-member organization, Sri Lanka said it is not surprised by the Canadian Government's action.

In a statement Tuesday (April 15) the Ministry said by this move the Canadian government is "holding the membership of the Commonwealth for ransom."

"It may be recalled because when the Canadian Prime Minister announced his non-attendance at the 2013 CHOGM, he also alluded to the issue of cutting back his government's contribution to the Commonwealth." Sri Lanka said.

"When Sri Lanka was to assume Chairmanship of the Commonwealth, the Canadian government sought to make their reservations in this regard as the reason for the cut," the Ministry noted.

The Ministry said that such relentless action by the Canadian government will undermine the delicate reconciliation process in the country as the bona fides of the basis of that Government's trajectory is questionable and not in tandem with the interests of the people of Sri Lanka.

It is the Government of Sri Lanka which is best placed to continue the evolution of a home grown solution for its people in accordance with a realistic time frame, the Ministry statement said.

"This action taken by Canada is at variance with the underlying spirit of the Commonwealth as a voluntary organization of sovereign nations, with diversity being its hallmark."

Sri Lanka said it upholds Commonwealth values and has never sought their change and Bairdís comment in justifying Canada's action is a castigation of the organization as a whole and believes that the wider Commonwealth stands in solidarity against such manipulations.

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