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Lanka says Canada isolated

2013 Oct 09

The Government today said that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is isolated in his decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka.

External Affairs Minister Professor G.L Peiris said that the Canadian Prime Ministers absence will not have a negative impact on the summit.

He said that several Commonwealth leaders including the Australian Prime Minister, who met President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the recent UN General Assembly, had also assured participation at the Colombo summit.

The Ministers also said that the Commonwealth summit cannot be used to interfere in Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs.

Meanwhile Dr. Mohan Kaul, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commonwealth Business Council, said that Canada will be represented at the Commonwealth business forum which will be held on the sidelines of the main summit in Sri Lanka.

He also noted that Canada has committed to fund the Commonwealth Secretariat for five years and that funding is likely to continue.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is already boycotting CHOGM 2013 because of Sri Lanka’s human rights record, had announced a possible review of Ottawa’s Commonwealth funding package as he attacked the decision to let Colombo stage the event.

Harper said he was “disturbed by reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances and allegations of extra-judicial killings” in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

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