The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday protested against the inclusion of Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) agenda claiming that it is contrary to Commonwealth rules.
During a meeting with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma in London, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris pointed out that such a course of action is contrary to the decisions taken by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Perth, Western Australia in October 2011 regarding the mandate of CMAG and the scope of its functions.
Issuing a statement the external affairs ministry also said that the Sri Lankan Minister emphasized the crucial need to preserve the essential character of the Commonwealth as a voluntary association of sovereign States, characterised by a striking diversity of cultures and outlook among the 54 states comprising the organisation.
The CMAG is scheduled to be held in London in April.
“He (Prof Peiris)said that any attempt to politicise the organisation or to permit its structures and mechanisms to be used as instruments by some countries to interfere in the domestic issues of other countries, would inevitably distort the cultural ethos of the Commonwealth and pose significant challenges with regard to its future,” the statement said.
Prof Peiris also briefed the Secretary-General in detail about the arrangements currently being made by the government of Sri Lanka for the hosting of the main conference in Colombo as well as the Commonwealth Business Forum, the People's Forum and the Youth Forum which will be held in Hambantota.
Mr. Sharma expressed satisfaction about Sri Lanka's dialogue with Dr Mohan Kaul regarding the Business Council which involves a focus on Sri Lanka not only as a destination for investment but also as a trading and knowledge hub.
Prof. Peiris briefed Mr Sharma about the discussions which he held in New Delhi last month regarding the summit, and in particular about Sri Lanka's support for the Secretary-General's proposal with regard to the establishment of a Commonwealth Bank for Trade and Investment.
Secretary-General Sharma was also briefed about the recent visits to Sri Lanka by Senator Robert Carr, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ms Julie Bishop, Australia's Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Foreign Minister.
Prof Peiris said that Australia was sharing with Sri Lanka the experience it had gained from successfully organising the last meeting of the Heads of Government less than two years ago and that this collaboration was greatly appreciated by Sri Lanka, it added.