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Sunday, 8 April 2012

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US sponsored resolution:

Govt reiterates its stance

The Government which reiterated its stance in Parliament at the adjournment debate on the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the recent UNHRC sessions outlined its sincere commitment to resolve the problem and stressed the need to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee as the key mechanism to address the issue. However, the Government pointed out that it would not permit any external mediation to interfere in the country's internal matters.

During the two day debate on the adjournment motion moved by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake on the Geneva resolution, the Opposition members queried about the Government's stand on the Geneva resolution, implementation of the LLRC recommendations, the country's human rights situation and the India's decision to vote in favour of the resolution.

Some Government members who joined the debate accused that the Opposition members were attempting to gain political mileage from this issue. However, External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris in his detailed reply refuted most of the 'speculations' by the Opposition members. The Minister was of the view that the Opposition members had distorted the facts in their speeches.

MP Anura Kuamara Dissanayake moving the adjournment motion tried to highlight that the UNHRC resolution has laid the ground for international forces to interfere in the country's sovereignty and internal affairs. The MP said the country has reached a decisive movement and the focus should be on how to act. Dissanayake said that the situation has become complicated due to contradictory statements by some Government members on the outcome of the Geneva resolution.

This has east doubt on the Government's stand on the issue. The Government which didn't realize that the war against terrorism was a political landmark waited until the US pressurized to implement the LLRC recommendations, he said. Dissanayake described the LLRC report as incomplete and said that it should not be accepted by the Parliament.

Prof. Peiris in his reply assured the House that except for few significant occasions, no outside country can interfere in the sovereignty of an independent country, based on the norms of the international law. The Minister in his speech explained the Government's genuine desire to solve this problem in collaboration with all political parties representing the Parliament.

He said that a Parliamentary Select Committee is the key mechanism to facilitate this process. Reiterating the Government's stance, the Minister said that the Government would not leave room for any external interference in the internal affairs of the country. Referring to the queries by the Opposition members on the Government's stand on the LLRC report, Prof. Peiris told the House that the Government accepts the LLRC report as a whole. But it does not mean that all its recommendations will be implemented at once. He told the House that there is no instance where all recommendations of any Commission have been implemented. Certain recommendations in the LLRC have to be implemented only step by step, he said.

The Minister referring to a query by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake as to whether India has become an enemy of Sri Lanka, told the House that no country becomes an enemy of another country. The Indian Government took this decision for its survival he opined. He said that India's decision at the UNHRC sessions had a negative impact on Sri Lanka.

The Minister also told the House that India's falling in line with the US resolution has tarnished its image as the Leader of the SAARC region. Referring to a comment by TNA MP Sumanthiran to a newspaper that the TNA redefined had the American attitude towards Sri Lanka, Prof. Peiris questioned if the TNA tells the country that it was they who instigate this, how can they reach consensus with the Government? If the TNA resorts to such behaviour, how can the negotiations be continued with them? This clearly indicates that the TNA is not interested in reconciliation.

Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda who joined the debate said that the TNA says one thing to the Government and something totally different to the Tamil community. The Minister remarked on TNA's double standards. It is ridiculous that the TNA which rejected the LLRC report now urges the government to implement it . Minister Devananda said there was a hidden agenda behind the resolution against Sri Lanka. UPFA Parliamentarian Sajin Vas Gunawardene said if the TNA wants a solution to the problem it should discuss it with the Government without seeking international intervention. The TNA would never be able to frighten the Government by such conduct.

Construction and Engineering Services Minister Wimal Weerawansa in his speech referred to some Opposition members who attempted to highlight that the resolution was moved against Sri Lanka due to the wrongdoings of the Government. He explained how some Opposition politicians attempted to force the Government to give into the international pressure and obstruct the military operations launched to eradicate terrorism.

The Minister pointed out how the UNP Deputy Leader MP Sajith Premadasa stressed the importance of uniting as one country when the resolution was moved against Sri Lanka. However, the UNP did not allocate time to MP Premadasa to speak during the debate. Citing an example, the Minister pointed out how the US voted in favour of Israel when all other countries voted against it.

He queried as to whether the US moved any resolution against the then UNP Government which was responsible for the loss of 66,000 lives during the 1988-1989 terror period? He said that the West attempted to take revenge since President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not succumb to their agenda and end the war against their mercenaries.

Referring to the internal crisis of the UNP and the JVP, Minister Weerawansa said the UNP should not remain a defeated party forever by hampering the leadership under Sajith. The Minister told in a lighter vein the JVP's symbol, Sickle and Hammer was taken away by its break away group Leader Kumar Gunarathnam while the anti-imperialism flag was captured by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Therefore, the JVP is looking for a new flag today.

The Minister however stressed the need to create a new political culture to face the external pressure against the country successfully.

UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera in his speech attempted to highlight the US resolution against Sri Lanka as a great defeat for the country. For the first time a Presidential Commission appointed by the government has been endorsed by the international community.

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