Government expresses dismay over Canadian PM’s move

Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis Commenting on Canada’s stance to boycott CHOGM 2013 on principles of poor human rights conditions and lack of ‘reconciliation and accountability’, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday noted dismay over the decision and expressed that it is “wrong to use issues connected with the domestic politics of a country to determine the approach of that country to CHOGM”. Assuring that Canada is totally isolated in the situation because as the response from the rest of the countries have been “overwhelming”, Prof. Peiris said: “The Commonwealth is not a forum to pass judgment on each other; that has never been the tradition. It is a voluntary association of sovereign states; there is no justification for some countries to sit in judgment of other countries. All countries have problems and they must be resolved by governments of those countries in keeping with aspirations of their people. To suggest anything else is fundamentally contrary to the culture of the commonwealth.” “We are dismayed by the Canadian Government. We think it is clearly very wrong,” he added. Noting the response and support of goodwill by other countries, Peiris remarked that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott who was also attending the same meeting at which the said announcement was made by Canadian PM Stephen Harper issued an statement that they will be attending CHOGM by all means and that “you do not make new friends by rubbishing your old friends or abandoning your old friends”. The Prime Ministers of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan and all countries in Africa as well as Presidents of Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Seychelles and Cyprus have expressed support for Sri Lanka, he said. “When the President and I hosted discussions on the sidelines of the UN’s General Assembly with Heads of State, Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers of a large number of countries, we were overwhelmed by the very strong support and solidarity they expressed with regard to the upcoming event,” Prof. Peiris added. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at a joint reception hosted for Foreign Ministers of Commonwealth countries wished the event in Sri Lanka to be a resounding success and assured the support of the Australian government to ensure this. Positive comments have also been made on the meticulous preparation of logistics. The three advanced teams from Commonwealth countries have noted satisfaction with the arrangements made as well. “That is the overwhelming view of the Commonwealth. The Canadian view is not shared by any of them,” he said.