Written by Staff Writer
16 Apr, 2014 | 9:22 pm
In what was described as “not a surprise move,” the Ministry of External Affairs issued a special statement on Wednesday following Canada’s decision to suspend technical assistance funding to the Commonwealth.
In a point by point statement rebuffing the decision, the Ministry of External Affairs made the following observations:
• This announcement is not a surprise. It may be recalled that when the Canadian Prime Minister announced his non-attendance to the 2013 CHOGM in Colombo, he also alluded to the issue of cutting back his government’s contributions to the Commonwealth.
•Further, during conversation with a Canadian Government representative in Sri Lanka over a year ago it was mentioned that Canada was considering the rationalisation of their contributions to international organisations including the Commonwealth.
•When Sri Lanka was to assume Chairmanship of the Commonwealth, the Canadian Government sought to make their reservations in this regard as the reason for the cut.
•Concern has been expressed amongst the wider Commonwealth that the countries which provide the majority of the finances seek to unduly influence the working of the Organisation.
•This action by Canada stands in evidence of such machinations.
•Regrettably, the Canadian Government has sought to use its voluntary funds as a political tool based on the dictates of electoral compulsions, thereby holding the membership of the wider Commonwealth to ransom, through competing claims for power.
•Further, the relentless action pursued by Canada on Sri Lanka, will only seek to undermine the delicate reconciliation process, as the bona fides of the basis of that government’s trajectory is questionable and not in tandem with the interests of the people of Sri Lanka. It is the GoSL which is best placed to continue the evolution of a home grown solution for its people in accordance with a realistic time frame.
•This action taken by Canada is at variance with the underlying spirit of the Commonwealth as a voluntary organisation of sovereign nations, with diversity being its hallmark.
• Sri Lanka upholds Commonwealth values and has never sought their change. Baird’s comment in justifying Canada’s action is a castigation of the organisation as a whole, and believe that the wider Commonwealth stands in solidarity against such manipulations.
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