How come UK rejects its own Defence Attache’s assessment on Vanni war death toll,-asks Dinesh
Posted on December 8th, 2017

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Leader of the Joint Opposition parliamentary group Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, has questioned the rationale behind the British government’s rejection of its own Colombo-based wartime Defence Attaché Lt. Colonel Anton Gash’s confidential reports sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Gash’s cables originating from Colombo that had been obtained by Lord Naseby in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 strongly disputed the basis on which Sri Lanka was forced co-sponsor Geneva Resolution 30/1 in Oct 2015, MP Gunawardena said.

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The JO leader said so addressing a gathering at the National Library and Documentation Services Board on Thursday (Dec 7). The Panel of speakers comprised Ven. Elle Gunawansa thera, MP Gunawardena, retired Navy chief of Staff Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrema and News Editor of The Island Shamindra Ferdinando.

MEP leader and UPFA MP Gunawardena said the UK certainly owed Sri Lanka a credible explanation why it had simply rejected Lord Naseby’s statement in the House of Lords on Oct 12, 2017 on the basis of dispatches from Defence Attache’s Office. The MP pointed out that those dispatches had certainly reflected the opinion of the British High Commission here at that time. In fact, those dispatches couldn’t have taken a stand contrary to that of the High Commissioner Peter Hayes, MP Gunawardena said.

Gunawardena said that the BHC response to The Island query as regards Lord Naseby’s denial of the massacre of over 40,000 Tamil civilians was nothing but an admission that the Conservative politician’s assertion couldn’t be challenged.

Shocking rejection of Gash’s reports by the British should be examined against the backdrop of the admission of allegations as evidence by those whose identities would remain confidential till 2031, the MP said.

UK has insisted on the full implementation of the Geneva resolution.

The JO heavyweight pointed out that the British rejection of its own mission’s cables that had explicitly dealt with the ground situation during January-May 2009 would raise questions over dispatches originating from other missions.

Thanks to Lord Naseby’s intervention those who had been propagating lies had been exposed, Gunawardena said, lambasting the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government for not exploiting the situation to Sri Lanka’s advantage.

The MEP Leader alleged that Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, PC, in spite of being in Sri Lanka conveniently skipped the adjournment debate on Lord Naseby’s revelations. Instead, Minister Marapana had given his deputy State Foreign Minister Vasantha Senanayake, who is a great grandson of the country’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake to respond to the JO on behalf of the government. The State Minister  having appreciated Lord Naseby’s effort from the bottom of his heart, very clearly declared that he couldn’t decide on what the government’s response should be.

Subsequently, Minister Marapana assured parliament that the government would act on Lord Naseby’s revelation at an appropriate time, MP Gunawardena said. Now that the British had callously dismissed their own classified reports, it would be Marapana’s responsibility to explain how the incumbent government intended to proceed, having co-sponsored a resolution against the country at the behest of Western powers.

Turning towards, Ven. Gunawansa, MP Gunawardena asked whether any country would have accepted such a blatantly biased resolution under any circumstances.

The JO MP acknowledged that as members of the parliament regardless of political differences, they couldn’t absolve themselves of the responsibility to defend Sri Lanka’s image.

MP Gunawardena assured that the JO would certainly pursue the matter though it was currently engaged in finalizing nominations for forthcoming local government polls.

A smiling MP said those who had been proudly boasting of introducing Right to Information Act immediately after the change of government in January 2015 were reluctant to use information obtained by Lord Naseby courtesy similar law in the UK.

Emphasizing that there couldn’t be anything more important or sensitive than the unprecedented crisis faced in Geneva, he pointed out that the country wasn’t concerned about the outcome of President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Seoul or Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s talks with Indian leader Modi. Those who had ousted the previous administration had placed the country in an unenviable position, MP Gunawardena said, urging the electorate to rally around those who represented national interests.

MP Gunawardena said the government would have to face the consequences of its reluctance to use the best possible counter arguments furnished by a political representative of a country currently represented in the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

 

One Response to “How come UK rejects its own Defence Attache’s assessment on Vanni war death toll,-asks Dinesh”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Dinesh has very carefully used his words on the matter. His statements roughly outline the situation. He doesn’t over-rely on the matter when he says.

    [Quote] The JO MP acknowledged that as members of the parliament regardless of political differences, they couldn’t absolve themselves of the responsibility to defend Sri Lanka’s image. [Unquote]

    [Quote] MP Gunawardena said the government would have to face the consequences of its reluctance to use the best possible counter arguments furnished by a political representative of a country currently represented in the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). [Unquote]

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