Gota slams Cameron for politicking in Colombo to placate LTTE rump back home


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that UK Premier David Cameron was playing politics in Colombo to placate the LTTE rump back home.

Cameron’s strategy was obviously influenced by the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Tamils against Genocide, he said.

The British government delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) went to the extent of meeting representatives of the three organizations in London before leaving for the Colombo CHOGM via New Delhi, the Defence Secretary pointed out.

"The British Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are eyeing the next parliamentary election," Rajapaksa alleged. He recollected the former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband admitting allocating two-thirds of his time to Tamil issue at the height of the Vanni war due to domestic political compulsions.

He was responding Premier Cameron’s warning at a news briefing yesterday that he would move the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva in March next year unless President Mahinda Rajapaksa took meaningful measures to address accountability issues.The UK recently secured a place in the UNHRC. The Defence Secretary said that the UK couldn’t have its own way in the UNHRC as there were other influential countries. He was referring to the election of Russia, China and Cuba to the UNHRC.

``Premier Cameron was speaking as if we were still a British colony,’’ the official said.

Rajapaksa ridiculed Cameron giving a deadline to Sri Lanka in the backdrop of UK’s failure to release the Chilcot Inquiry. Could anything be as unfair as pushing for war crimes investigation on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations propagated by Channel 4 News whereas the UK was yet to finalize its own domestic investigation into the illegal war in Iraq, he asked.

Premier Cameron, the Defence Secretary alleged, was conveniently forgetting his own Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s declaration in the UK parliament that invasion of Iraq on the basis of false intelligence reports was illegal.

"Don’t forget the March 2003 invasion of Iraq wasn’t sanctioned by the UN. Premier Cameron is preaching to us on accountability issues thinking we are unaware of its duplicity."

The outspoken official said that the UK as well as many other countries wanting to have Sri Lanka hauled up before an international war crimes tribunal were focusing on the final phase of the conflict in early 2009 whereas hundreds if not thousands of atrocities took place over a period of three decades.

Rajapaksa said: "Some former members of the LTTE responsible for atrocities committed here are now living in the UK and other EU countries. Today they are British passport holders. One-time British High Commission employee, LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham’s wife, Adele, now lives in the UK. Her role in recruiting teenage girls into the ranks of the LTTE is well documented. In spite of us bringing the presence of LTTE personnel to the notice of the British government, the administration is yet to take action."

The Defence Secretary said that successive UK governments had collaborated with Tamil terrorist groups beginning early 80s; hence the UK couldn’t absolve itself of responsibility for the terrorism here. Premier Cameron couldn’t be unaware of the LTTE having its International Secretariat in the UK which coordinated procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment for many years.

"Today, funds raised abroad are exclusively used to destabilize Sri Lanka. A section of the British political establishment is working closely with the LTTE rump. A case in point is former Labour Party minister Joan Ryan joining the GTF as its policy advisor."

The UK had no option but to proscribe the LTTE in the UK due to the situation getting out of hand there. In spite of that the LTTE remained active and aggressively campaign against Sri Lanka until the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the Defence Secretary said.

Those now leading the GTF, BTF as well as Tamils against Genocide always represented the interests of the LTTE. Therefore it would be the responsibility on the part of the Cameron government to explain the circumstances under which such groups had access to British parliament.

The Defence Secretary alleged that the latest British threat was meant to destabilize the country. Under President Rajapaksa’s leadership, the government was able to finish off the LTTE in three years paving the way for unprecedented economic revival in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The country could move forward without Premier Cameron’s help.

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