Lanka not on CMAG agenda

The Commonwealth Secretariat says Sri Lanka will not be on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting next month.

Several attempts were made, especially by Canada, to include Sri Lanka on the agenda citing a poor human rights record and to push for a change of venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November.

However a spokesman for Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said that CHOGM 2013 will be held in Sri Lanka as scheduled and that the island has not been included on the agenda for the next scheduled meeting of CMAG in April.

“I can confirm to you that Sri Lanka is not on the agenda for the next scheduled meeting of CMAG on 26 April. A discussion of CHOGM is not on the agenda for the 26 April CMAG meeting either. It was the Commonwealth Heads of Government that made the decision to hold the 2013 meetings in Sri Lanka. Such decisions are made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government level and not by CMAG. It is important to understand that the CMAG route is not the first option of action in such circumstances. It is one that is resorted to only when intervention efforts through the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s good offices have been exhausted,” the Commonwealth Secretary General’s spokesman Richard Uku said.

He also said that a Commonwealth expert round-table on reconciliation will take place in London in May. It will involve the sharing of experiences of the challenges faced and lessons learned during post-conflict reconciliation in Commonwealth member states. Sri Lanka will participate in this forum and share its experiences of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation.

“Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report is a pivotal national plan for moving forward, to achieve a multi-ethnic nation at peace with itself. We have urged the report’s expeditious implementation, which the Commonwealth remains committed to supporting,” he said.

He also said that the Commonwealth will continue to explore opportunities where it can offer its collective wisdom and experience, and will aim to agree by mid-2013 on areas where it can support Sri Lanka’s implementation of the LLRC report. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Easwaran Rutnam