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Adverse criticism of CHOGM stems from jealousy “ Dullas

2013 Jul 19

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Those who were criticizing the government for hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 had chosen to ignore the benefits that would accrue to Sri Lanka from it, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said yesterday.

He said that the UNP had mocked the then Sirimavo Bandaranaike government in 1976 for hosting the Non Aligned Summit, claiming it as a wedding of Kaffirs (Kaperinge Magula).

Minister Alahapperuma, flanked by External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris and Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, was addressing the Provincial Chief Ministers, Education Ministers, Provincial Education Secretaries and Directors on the school programmes, related to the CHOGM 2013, at the External Affairs Ministry Auditorium yesterday.

"Now, the Opposition parties are working to link the issues related to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with the CHOGM 2013," Alahapperuma said. He described it as pure political jealousy.

Alahapperuma said the UNP had made several allegations about the behaviour of the King of Swaziland when he visited Sri Lanka recently, but they did not speak about benefits that accrued from Sri Lanka’s associations with such countries.

Swaziland had supported Sri Lanka against the US sponsored resolution at the UNHRC, but the Opposition had tried to mislead the people in a bid to gain cheap publicity, the minister said.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would become the Chairman of CHOGM for two years and it would be a great achievement for the country as LTTE financial supporters still operated in other countries.

"CHOGM is the biggest event since the Non Aligned Summit in 1976," Prof. Peiris said, adding that it was the first opportunity given to Asian country, after 24 years, to host the CHOGM.

Although the LTTE had been militarily eradicated in Sri Lanka, its financial power remained intact around the world, Prof. Peiris said, noting that LTTE activists were trying to destabilise Sri Lanka now on the economic front.

He said that LTTE sympathisers were striving to block investment to Sri Lanka.

"CHOGM 2013 will be a good platform to show the truth about our human rights practices," Prof. Peiris said.

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