Baird denies reports of attending Commonwealth summit
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is denying reports he has confirmed plans to attend the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka.
Two newspapers in Sri Lanka reported Tuesday that Baird had sent his RSVP to be part of the Canadian delegation to this November’s summit of the 54 Commonwealth leaders.
But Baird’s spokesman Rick Roth says the minister has yet to decide whether he will attend the meeting. Roth says the minister remains concerned about the Sri Lankan government’s lack of accountability over allegations of war crimes against ethnic Tamils in the aftermath of the country’s long civil war that ended in 2009.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has threatened to boycott the summit, saying Sri Lanka shouldn’t be hosting until it cleans up its act on human rights.
Baird has said it would be up to the prime minister to decide whether anyone goes to represent Canada because the November meeting is for heads of government.
External Affairs Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena said Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird is expected to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka yesterday.
The MP said this when he met newspaper Editor and electronic media heads at Temple Trees for breakfast this morning.
Gunawardena said the government however hopes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as the head of state, will attend the key summit. The MP said that more than 80 percent of the participants for CHOGM have confirmed their attendance at the summit.