C’ wealth Chief coming for talks Canada pushes for action

sgLG Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will arrive here on February 10 amidst continuing Canadian efforts to convince the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to formally examine recent events in Sri Lanka

He is coming on a routine visit to discuss arrangements for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Sri Lanka later this year,” Foreign Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama said.

The Government would use its discussions with Mr. Sharma to discourage any efforts —led by the Canadians —to place Sri Lanka on CMAG’s formal or informal agenda. The Government will convey to Secretary-General Sharma that the Canadian request, ignores stipulated procedures by requesting Sri Lanka to be put on the CMAG agenda. It will stress that Third World countries should not be held hostage to Canada’s domestic requirements..

Canada, which has already threatened to boycott the summit in Sri Lanka over lack of accountability for alleged war crimes, has stepped up its campaign after the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

British External Affairs Minister Alistair Burt is also on a visit to Sri Lanka next week. The British Embassy states that Alistair Burt who is visiting Sri Lanka on February 1st will attend and address the convention at the Lakshman Kathirgamar Centre.

Minister Burt last week said in the British Parliament that he “Cannot notify in advance whether Britain will participate the Commonwealth conference which is scheduled to be held in November in Sri Lanka.”

The statement was made in response to a Foreign Affairs Committee report, entitled “The role and future of the Commonwealth”, which called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to boycott the event.

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