Writing on his recent trip to Sri Lanka, UK FCO minister Alistair Burt, suggested that Sri Lanka should learn from Britain’s mistakes in Northern Ireland, not “sow the seeds for future conflict”. Highlighting the militarisation of the Nroth-East, he said that “while the manifestations of conflict are fading, the root causes are not.
The economy is growing and infrastructure in the conflict zone is being rebuilt and expanded; new roads are opening up routes to market for farmers and fisherman. Large areas have also been de-mined, allowing for a significant reduction in internally displaced people.
This will be an important year in Sri Lanka: in November it plans to hold the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. The U.K. has not yet made a decision on attendance. CHOGM is a time to recall the values uniting the Commonwealth – values we have all freely agreed to. The Sri Lankan government must think through exactly what will be seen when the international spotlight shines upon them. As host, we look to them not only to adhere to the Commonwealth values of good governance, the rule of law and human rights, but to champion them.
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