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Sri Lankan foreign minister slams Canadian boycott threat

Slamming Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper's threat to boycott the next Commonwealth meeting, which is to be held in Sri Lanka, if there is not satisfactory progress on war crimes investigation, Sri Lankan foreign minister, G.L. Peiris, claimed that such views did not reflect Canadian foreign policy towards Sri Lanka.

Harper vowed last month that he would not attend the 2013 Commonwealth summit to be held in Sri Lanka, unless Colombo agreed to independent investigations into war crimes committed by its forces. Harper is reported to have walked out of the CHOGM summit when Rajapaksa addressed delegates on Sunday.

Harper's views have received widespread support within the Canadian parliament and have been echoed by the British prime minister David Cameron.

Peiris went on to criticise Canadian attempts to discuss Sri Lanka's current human rights situation as "an attempt to politicise the proceeding of the Commonwealth".

He added,

"[The CHGOM] not intended for discussing domestic matters; yet the Sri Lankan government had nothing to hide and are open for bilateral discussion."

Despite the relentless focus on Sri Lanka's human rights record and war crimes during the past week, Peiris proclaimed to Sri Lanka's media that the outcome of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was "an unparalleled achievement of Sri Lanka's foreign policy and diplomacy".

A day after the LLRC spokesperson told reporters the findings would not necessarily made public, Peiris also informed reporters of Sri Lanka's u-turn.

"The president has categorically stated it will be a public document," said Peiris.

The LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) has been deemed as ‘flawed at every level’ by Amnesty International and categorically dismissed by the International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, and several eminent persons,including Nelson Mandela.