UK Foreign Office Minister tours the north

British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alistair Burt visited the north today after arriving in Sri Lanka late last night.

The Foreign Office Minister is in Killinochchi this morning for meetings from where he will then travel to Jaffna

After arriving in Sri Lanka last night, Burt said that during his visit he will be getting a sense of how reconciliation is progressing in the country.

He also said that during his meetings with the government he will be discussing about the values of the Commonwealth.

Speaking at the British House of Commons earlier this month, Burt said that it was too soon to talk about the British government’s attendance plans for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka this year.

“We will not move from that position for a period of time. Sri Lanka was scheduled to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2011, but given ongoing concerns about the humanitarian and human rights situation, the UK and other Commonwealth members did not support its bid. However, Commonwealth members decided that Sri Lanka would host in 2013. To reopen that decision would require a consensus of all member states and I do not think that is likely.  A decision on the location of CHOGM is not for the UK; it is for the Commonwealth. The meeting will discuss many issues, not just Sri Lanka, but as Sri Lanka well knows it will inevitably shine a spotlight on the host country, demonstrating either its progress or lack of it. It is up to Sri Lanka to choose what will be seen,” he told the House of Commons. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Easwaran Rutnam