Motion to suspend SL from Commonwealth defeated

Friday, 23 September 2011 03:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Australian Government and the Opposition voted together yesterday to defeat a motion in the Senate to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.  

It was moved by Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon (Senator for New South Wales), the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra said in a statement.

Speaking on the motion, a representative for the Government of Australia said that they do not believe that complex foreign policy issues can be resolved through motions such as the one mooted by Senator Rhiannon.

Senator Rhiannon also convened a closed door round table discussion to further the call for a war crimes tribunal for Sri Lanka earlier in the week, the participants for which included pro-LTTE lobby group representatives and critics of the Sri Lankan Government.

No invitation was extended by the Senator for any Sri Lankan Government representative to participate in this discussion.

Senator Rhiannon recently requested the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship of Australia to provide details of those that had applied for visas to Australia to attend the forthcoming CHOGM meeting as a part of the Sri Lanka delegation. The Minister declined to provide that information.

Several articles have appeared in the Australian media on the attempts by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) calling on governments including Australia to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth and to seek to prevent the participation of the Sri Lanka delegation at the forthcoming CHOGM meeting in Perth.

“The sole aim of these groups is to resurrect the militarily defeated LTTE terrorists (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and their cause of creating a separate mono ethnic state of Tamil Eelam in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

The efforts of these groups have concentrated in the aftermath of the war in targeting key Sri Lankan Government officials and damaging their reputations internationally. Their calls have continued to be ignored worldwide,” the statement said.

Sri Lanka’s High Comm-issioner to Australia Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe has given extensive interviews to the Australian Associated Press (AAP) and ABC Radio Australia this week countering allegations made against Sri Lanka.