CHOGM 2013: Canada’s threatened boycott unfair – SLSeptember 16, 2011, 12:00 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canada Ms Chitranganee Wagiswara on Wednesday (14) met Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where she expressed serious concern over Premier Harper’s declaration.
Sri Lanka says it will be unfair for Canada to review its commitment to Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 in Colombo citing unsubstantiated war crimes allegations propagated by the LTTE and its agents.
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canada Chitranganee Wagiswara on Wednesday (14) met Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where she expressed serious concern over Premier Harper’s declaration.
Authoritative sources told The Island yesterday that Ms Wagiswara had sought an urgent meet with Canadian FM in the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa calling for stepped-up efforts to counter anti-Sri Lanka moves.
A spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry quoted Ms Wagiswara as having told the Canadian FM as the decision to hold CHOGM 2013 in Colombo had been taken at CHOGM 2009 held in Trinidad & Tobago, by the Commonwealth Member States it would be unfair to reopen the issue and that the arrangements for hosting the 2013 summit were underway.
They also discussed the possibility of arranging a visit by a Canadian parliamentary group to Northern Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission.
Baird assumed the foreign ministry portfolio following parliamentary polls in early May 2011.This week’s meeting was Ms. Wagiswara’s first with Baird.
Sources said that the Sri Lankan envoy had briefed the Canadian FM regarding post-war developments and on-going measures adopted by the government to address the difficulties experienced by war affected communities. Sources said that Canadian HC in Colombo Bruce Levy had been a regular participant at diplomatic briefings at the External Affairs Ministry and therefore Canada was fully aware of what was going on in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
A spokesperson for President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Office told The Island the LTTE was making an attempt to humiliate Sri Lanka ahead of next week’s UNGA in New York and CHOGM 2011 in Perth, Australia.
The official said that the LTTE was making arrangements to hold a series of protests beginning with a demonstration in Geneva on Sept. 19. The Geneva protest would be followed by one in New York on the day President Rajapaksa delivers his speech to the UNGA and CHOGM 2011 in Perth. According to him, the campaign would pave the way for a major fund raising project to coincide the LTTE’s Heroes’ week in November.
A senior intelligence official said that since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the LTTE had been trying to isolate Sri Lanka. "They tried to disrupt Sri Lanka’s cricket tour of England. Once that had failed, they made a desperate bid to dissuade Australia Cricket from visiting Sri Lanka. That too failed. Now, they are working overtime to isolate Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNGA and CHOGM 2011." He said that Commonwealth leaders had pledged to fight terrorism following 9/11 and there shouldn’t be any deviation from that policy.
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