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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Sri Lanka expressed deep displeasure over British High Commissioner’s recent comments

Colombo, 14 December, ( Sri Lankan authorities summoned the British High Commissioner and expressed the Government’s position and deep displeasure over some of the comments made by him at a recent public gathering.

Dominick Chilcott, British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka delivered the Dudley Senanayake Memorial Lecture, on “the new diplomacy for the new century,” at the BMICH, Colombo, on 10 December.

He took to task Sri Lanka Government and made comments that were taken exception by the Sri Lankan authorities. He reprimanded the Government for demonizing the UN Agencies, NGOs and their staff on the basis of wholly unsubstantiated allegations.

Subsequently, British High Commissioner, Dominic Chilcott, was summoned on 13 December, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express the deep displeasure of the Government for his comments.

At yesterday’s morning’s meeting, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona drew attention to the High Commissioner’s comment, “I am not saying that the political aspiration for Eelam is illegitimate” and expressed the Government’s deep concern. He stated that this statement was unacceptable to the Government of Sri Lanka given the British government’s categorical rejection of the creation of a separate State in Sri Lanka. Additionally, at a time when the painstaking process of evolving a negotiated political settlement was underway, such sentiments would have a negative impact and send confusing signals. He also expressed disappointment that such statement was made at a particularly politically sensitive time in the country.

The British High Commissioner categorically confirmed that the UK does not support in any way the establishment of a separate State in Sri Lanka. Neither did he personally.

The British High Commissioner by way of explanation stated that what he meant was that political aspirations could be expressed through legitimate methods, just as much as the aspiration for independence for Yorkshire.

The Foreign Secretary additionally, stated that there was no substantiation of the allegation made that relatives of TNA members had been abducted. The law enforcement authorities had advised that preliminary investigations had not revealed any basis for these allegations which seemed to follow a familiar pattern. Upholding the rule of law was among the government’s foremost priorities, he said. Such allegations have the potential to be used and manipulated by interested parties in the current political environment.

The High Commissioner agreed that the government had the right to take measures within the law to confront the terrorist threat posed by the LTTE. He said that he was greatly encouraged by the ready acceptance of the supremacy of the legal process evidenced by the deference demonstrated by the law enforcement authorities to the recent rulings of the Supreme Court. He also stated that political opposition must be consistent with the legal framework of the country.

- Asian Tribune -

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