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* Sri Lanka asks foreign envoys to be impartial and refrain from meddling in domestic matters
Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 07:14 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka has asked the foreign envoys to the country to be impartial on domestic matters of sensitive nature and refrain from interfering in domestic affairs.

In a comprehensive briefing for Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Sri Lanka at the Ministry of External Affairs last Thursday (7th August) Minister Professor G.L. Peiris stressed the need for foreign envoys to show sensitivity to local sentiments and to be cautious about associating themselves with events which are not compatible with the impartiality integral to their role.

He said that Sri Lanka's own culture emphasizes self-restraint in passing judgment on others and commenting in a partisan manner on sensitive developments in other countries.

"This is because of our inherent respect for the identity of these nations and the legitimate responsibility of their elected leaders to determine policy in accordance with the aspirations of their people," he said.

While underlining Sri Lanka's eagerness at all times to exchange views and to work cordially with the international community, he commented on the importance of diplomatic missions refraining from activity which may give rise to any perception of partisanship in respect of domestic matters.

Minister Peiris explained to the diplomatic community the government's policy pertaining to non-governmental organizations and recent developments in this regard.

Following the involvement of diplomats of several Western countries in a clash between two non-governmental organizations representing missing persons at the Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo on 4th August, the government urged the diplomatic community to be more conscious of local sensitivities when attending events of an emotive nature.

Sri Lanka charged that the action of the some diplomatic missions targeting one particular community in the country is leading to the emergence of a pattern of potentially volatile situations and giving rise to the perpetuation of mistrust amongst communities at a sensitive juncture in the country's history.

The Minister at the meeting on Thursday explained in detail matters relating to the appointment of three experts to assist Sri Lanka’s Commission to investigate allegations of disappearances, and the role of these experts. He also dealt with the reasons for the government’s recent initiatives with regard to the rapidly increasing number of persons from overseas, claiming asylum or refugee status.

He touched on the work of the Parliamentary Select Committee, which was sitting on that very day, and the way forward in the field of constitutional reform.

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