CHOGM 2013: UK reps behaving as if we were still a colony – Gotabhaya
Posted on November 15th, 2013

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the UK government was acting as if Sri Lanka were still a British colony.

The actions of some of the British representatives here for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) had undermined bilateral relations, Rajapaksa said.

He was responding to statements attributed to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire at the British High Commission and Chaaya Tranz, Hikkaduwa, respectively.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that they would never have behaved in such a way in any other country. Recalling former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband-â„¢s admission that he spent two-thirds of his time on Sri Lanka due to a very vocal Tamil Diaspora in the UK, numbering over 300,000, the Defence Secretary emphasized that the situation remained the same, though Labour lost the last parliamentary election to pave the way for a Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration.

Their criticism was meant to create a hostile environment ahead of President Mahinda Rajapaksa-â„¢s meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday (15), he alleged. The meeting will take place soon after PM Cameron returns from Jaffna.

The Defence Ministry has made available a special SLAF flight for the convenience of the British delegation.

Asked whether the government was concerned about the UK threat to push for an international war crimes investigation, unless the incumbent administration addressed accountability issues to the satisfaction of the global community, the Defence Secretary alleged that the British approach was unreasonable as well as inappropriate. He said: “A section of the international community is demanding a credible local investigation. But, accusations directed at us are based on information provided by nameless people whose identities are known to the UN Secretary General-â„¢s Panel of Experts (PoE) and the UK media outfit, Channel 4 News. They allege the final battle claimed the lives of 40,000 people.”

The British should explain whether any country accused of killings on such a scale would accept the PoE-â„¢s recommendation that its -Ëœsources-â„¢ would remain classified for 20 years, since the release of the report on March 31, 2011.

According to the PoE report, the three panelists, Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia), Steven R. Ratner (US) and Yasmin Sooka (South Africa) had received over 4,000 submissions from 2,300 persons, in response to a notice posted on the UN website on October 27, 2010.

The continuing refusal to name sources on the basis of confidentiality of the PoE-â„¢s records meant such a report/evidence couldn-â„¢t be acceptable in any court of law or special investigative mechanism, the Defence Secretary said. “Disclosure of credible sources is necessary to facilitate investigations. If the UK is keen for credible investigations, it should urge Channel 4 News as well as the UN to produce those eyewitnesses before international judicial authorities, without further delay.”

He said that Sri Lanka couldn-â„¢t be hauled up before an international war crimes probe on unsubstantiated allegations. It would be pertinent to mention that over a decade after the invasion of Iraq, on the basis of false UK intelligence reports, the UK was yet to finalise a domestic inquiry into the war. None other than UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, of the Liberal Democratic Party had admitted in parliament that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. “The Iraq war inquiry report is yet to be released, though the UK accuses Sri Lanka of failing to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.”

3 Responses to “CHOGM 2013: UK reps behaving as if we were still a colony – Gotabhaya”

  1. Vis8 Says:

    Just brilliant! The ball is in their court, and, guess what? These losers will shut up for good.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    HERE is an IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITY to convey to India’s Sri Lanka’s assessment of Man Mohan Singh’s decision on attending the CHOGM after Sri Lanka appeased him with the Northern PC Elections: DENY India’s ONGC the opportunity to submit a proposal to explore for Oil & Gas in Sri Lankan waters off Mannar!

    The GOSL should NOT give India any stake in these sensitive waters, already a bone of contention due to illegal poaching by Indian Fishermen. If we can’t even get India to leave our marine resources alone and control its Tamil Nadu based fishermen, how does the GOSL hope to get India to act honestly on joint petroleum resource exploitation? This is a marriage between incompatible partners sure to end in marital abuse and acrimonious divorce.

    I have been an Engineering Manager of Oil & Gas Production and Exploration R&D at Gulf Oil Corporation and at Chevron Oil Corporation for nearly a decade. I KNOW how easy it is to steal oil and gas across international boundaries from adjacent producing properties, because the flow of oil and gas through porous pathways continuous across these boundaries can be manipulated through pumping at production and injection wells. If the blocks on both the Indian and the Sri Lankan sides of the international border are operated by Indian companies, such as the ONGC, where is the INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT to protect Sri Lanka’s oil resources? Which IDIOT would allow the Indian FOX to mind the Sri Lankan HEN HOUSE!

    Above and beyond the wisdom of joint ventures with India, it should be CLEAR now to the GOSL that Sri Lanka should END all diplomatic, economic, and military dependence and collaboration with India, because India cannot be a RELIABLE PARTNER for Sri Lanka as long as Tamil Nadu remains MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to India than Sri Lanka. That REALITY will NEVER CHANGE, and Sri Lanka should ESCAPE from the DEADLY SUFFOCATING EMBRACE of India before Sri Lanka loses her Sovereignty and her ability to survive and achieve our goal of becoming the New Wonder of Asia.

    My advice to the GOSL is: DO NOT enter into Oil and Gas exploration and Production with India. Instead, seek out other partners such as Vietnam which will not threaten India, failing that China, or even Israel!

    If GOSL wants the message to be sent gradually … then open the bidding on these blocks to all countries, specifically invite Vietnam and China to bid, and then award it to either Vietnam or China in the end.

    Send a MESSAGE NOW to India that Sri Lanka does not take kindly to the extension of Indian HEGEMONY over Sri Lanka and INTERFERENCE in our Sovereign nation, by turning down India’s bid for Oil & Gas exploitation in Sri Lankan waters.

    ONGC seeks govt nod to bid for Lanka gas blocks

    Anupama Airy
    New Delhi
    November 15, 2013

    Given the ongoing tensions with Sri Lanka and in the wake of the recent decision of Indian Prime Minister to cancel his trip to the neighbouring nation, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has sought political clearance from the ministry of external affairs (MEA) to participate in Sri Lanka’s offshore bidding rounds that are open till November 29.

    The offshore area of Sri Lanka’s Cauvery and Mannar basins holds tremendous potential and has attracted several upstream companies due to gas discoveries in Mannar Basin. These blocks also hold immense strategic importance as they are located close to Indian shores.

    “India’s presence in Sri Lanka’s oil and gas sector assumes great strategic importance for us …however, given the ongoing situation with Sri Lanka, we need to seek political clearance before ONGC goes ahead and submits its bid …the decision rests with the MEA,” said a senior petroleum ministry official.

    Government sources also said that MEA was unlikely to hold back ONGC to bid for oil and gas blocks in Sri Lanka as New Delhi over the past few years has making all efforts to get a toehold in most oil and gas exploration blocks on borders with neighbours such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

    “Due to the strategic importance of these blocks, officials from both the petroleum and foreign ministries have been holding parleys with top officials of these countries to get allotment of these blocks on nomination basis,” the official added.

    Sri Lanka had launched the second offshore petroleum bidding round on March 7 and around 19 blocks have been offered. ONGC’s global arm — ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has already qualified for participation in the bidding process.

    “OVL is keen to participate in the Sri Lanka Bid Round 2013 and after studying the data, may consider submission of bids for technically and commercially viable exploration blocks on or before November 29 …it is requested that the political clearance for OVL’s entry into Sri Lanka may please be obtained from MEA,” OVL wrote to the petroleum ministry.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently conveyed his decision to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa over skipping the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) keeping in mind public sentiments in Tamil Nadu.

    However, foreign minister Salman Khurshid attended the Commonwealth summit on Friday despite demands from political parties in Tamil Nadu for a total boycott.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    We Patriots of Sri Lanka will ALWAYS Love & Protect President Mahinda Rajapaksa who rescued Sri Lanka’s hallowed crown from the GUTTER and placed it on our heads!

    What a Generation of Pusillanimous Political Pundits posing as National Leaders could not do this Great and Good man acheieved with great skill and courage taking the Personal Risks that the others avoided.

    While others Piously Pontificated to the chorus of foreigners chanting the mantra of “Human Rights” and “Democracy” for the TERRORISTS blowing hundreds of thousands of people to bits, and slicing and dicing innocents in the dead of the night, this Courageous Man with the Heart of a Lion took up the sword on behalf of his hapless countrymen.

    He understood that innocent VICTIMS rights TRUMP those of pitiless MURDERERS!

    We have only to look at the UTTER CHAOS WITHOUT END that reigns today in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere in world, despite, or because of, the failed bungled efforts of resource-rich superpowers, to appreciate the STUPENDOUS MAGNITUDE of the SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK that our President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Band of Brothers accomplished on a shoestring budget.

    We Patriots of Mother Lanka will NEVER ABANDON this Heroic Leader of Ours who SAVED COUNTLESS lives of our fellow citizens by his inspired leadership in our hour of DESPERATE NEED!

    Eternal Glory, in the Highest, to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Band of Heroes!

    Rajapakase Seen As Hero At Home, Despite Foreign Critics

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Nov 16 (MD) COLOMBO- Mahinda Rajapakse may be a pariah for some of his Commonwealth peers, but for many of his fellow Sri Lankans he is a national hero who ended four decades of bloodshed.

    The combative Sri Lankan president has long battled allegations that his troops killed some 40,000 civilians in the closing stages of the island’s ethnic conflict which ended in May 2009.

    His refusal to countenance an international inquiry into alleged abuses at the end of the war has prompted the leaders of Canada, Mauritius and India to all stay away from this weekend’s Commonwealth summit in Colombo.

    Others who are attending, such as Britain’s David Cameron, are promising to have “tough conversations” with the 67-year-old Rajapakse.

    But for all the international criticism, Rajapakse’s popularity has stood firm back home among a population who endured 37 years of war before government troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels once and for all.

    “People were getting killed for 30 years, at least after 2009 we have stopped it,” Rajapakse said in a typically unapologetic performance before the press in Colombo on Thursday.

    “There is no killing in Sri Lanka today.”

    Former Sri Lankan diplomat Dayan Jayatilleka says Rajapakse — who was overwhelmingly re-elected in January 2010 — still has no shortage of credit in the bank with the majority Sinhalese community after overseeing victory in what many had thought was an “unwinnable war”.

    Jayatilleka likened Rajapakse’s image to that of Vladimir Putin, who restored Russian pride and prestige by ending the war in Chechnya — even if there was also a heavy human cost.

    “Mahinda has the same kind of appeal as Putin. He has done something that none of his predecessors could,” said Jayatilleka, adding that he created a sense of patriotism among the majority.

    Ordinary Sri Lankans, questioned on the streets of Colombo, were quick to voice their support for Rajapakse even if they have less kind words to say about his government.

    “People are still grateful to him for ending the war,” company executive Nilantha Perera said. “He is seen as the man who defeated terrorism. He did the impossible.

    “Whatever his flaws in governance, many are willing to overlook all that. We are a grateful people.”

    Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella acknowledged that Rajapakse’s military success was still a strong draw at national elections.

    “I will vote for him any day because he won the war and stopped the daily bomb blasts we had to face for over 30 years,” Rambukwella told AFP. “People trust him. Ask the ordinary people. That is what is important to us.”

    The UN estimates that at least 100,000 people were killed in the fighting between 1972 and 2009, making it one of the longest and bloodiest ethnic conflicts of the 20th century.

    Rajapakse is widely regarded as an astute politician, managing to shift blame for corruption onto others in an administration which includes several of his brothers in senior positions.

    He has also been helped by a failure of the opposition to come up with a credible challenger.

    UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay is among the international voices who have accused Rajapakse of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

    But he strengthened his hold at his last electoral test in September, when he won two of the three provincial council contests. His only defeat was in the north, where the main Tamil party unsurprisingly won in Jaffna.

    Tamil politician Dharmalingam Sithadthan said increasing international criticism actually helped Rajapakse to consolidate his nationalist credentials.

    “He projects Western powers as the new enemy of the state and he is fighting them,” Sithadthan told AFP. “This has proved a very successful strategy.”

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